Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Jeevan Sihota wins Mickelson National Invitational

Humphreys in good form as he readies for B.C. Amateur title defence; Barker wins Ogopogo in record-setting fashion; Stinson prevails at Chilliwack Open

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Victoria’s Jeevan Sihota recorded the biggest win of his young pro career at the Mickelson National Invitational in Calgary.

The 20-year-old earned a $30,000 payday after finishing the 54-hole event at 12-under par, one shot better than runner-up Brady McKinlay of Lacombe, Alta. “It’s been a while since I had my last win, so it feels good,” Sihota said in a telephone interview.

Sihota was tied for the lead heading into the final round and after bogeying his first hole, he played flawlessly the rest of the way. He closed with a six-under 66.

“I think I’ve hit 35 straight greens (in regulation) and that streak is still going,” he said. “It was really good ball-striking and I poured in some putts at the end when I needed to.”

His biggest putt came on the 17th hole, when he rolled in a 22-foot putt for birdie to take a two-shot lead. “That putt on 17 was huge,” he said. “That was really big to give me that little extra cushion going into the last hole.” That final hole at Mickelson National is a par 5 and Sihota played it conservatively, knowing that a par was all he needed to secure the win.

His Calgary victory is the culmination of some better play of late from the big-hitting Sihota. He turned pro at age 17 and faced a steep learning curve. He also had to deal with some injuries, which he says are now behind him. He now has better control of his golf ball.

“The experience is really helping,” he said. “The more you play, the more you learn about yourself. This year has been good in that I have fixed my body and I am finally healthy now and am working on the right things with my golf game, I know what I am doing with my swing, my chipping, my putting.

“I have it in play now. That is why I am playing a lot better golf. A lot of it is me just driving it a lot straighter now. It took a little time to figure that out. My game is trending in the right direction right now.”

Sihota, a member of Golf Canada’s national team, is hoping to receive a couple of exemptions into PGA Tour Americas events in Canada this summer. He plans to head to Quebec in an attempt to Monday qualify for the upcoming event in Bromont.

TITLE DEFENCE: Vernon’s Cooper Humphreys and A.J. Ewart of Coquitlam tied for fourth at the Mickelson Invitational at eight-under par. Humphreys was the tournament’s low amateur. Humphreys will defend his title at this week’s 122nd B.C. Amateur Championship at Ledgeview Golf Course in Abbotsford. He is part of a feature threesome in Tuesday’s first round that includes Canadian University champion Dylan MacDonald of the University of B.C. and new B.C. Junior Boys champion Austin Krahn of Christina Lake. They tee off at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. After taking a gap year, Humphreys begins his collegiate career this fall. He had committed to Oregon State University, but has now decided to play for the University of San Diego.

PLAYING THE PIPER: A supplemental qualifier for this week’s B.C. Amateur was held Sunday at Sandpiper Golf Course in Harrison Mills. Twelve spots were available and Niklas Jaakkola of North Vancouver, Aidan Lu of Richmond and Andrew Biggar of Abbotsford all shot one-under 71 to lead the qualifiers.

OH DEERE: Surrey’s Adam Svensson and Roger Sloan of Merritt both made the cut at the John Deere Classic in Silvas, Ill. Svensson closed with a two-under 69 to finish tied for 34th at 12-under par. He made $39,200. Sloan shot a final-round 70 to tie for 61st at eight-under and earn $17,200. Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin are both playing in this week’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick. Sloan is playing the PGA TOUR’s opposite field event, the ISCO Championship in Nicholasville, Ky.

OGOPOGO RECORD: Vernon Golf Club’s Bryce Barker won the 71st playing of the Ogopogo Invitational at Kelowna Country Club in record-setting fashion. Barker’s 54-hole total of 16-under par broke the prior tournament record of 15-under set in 1998 by Doug Roxburgh and matched in 2005 by Kent Eger. Barker, who also won the Ogopogo in 2022, went wire-to-wire after opening the tournament with a nine-under 63. Mike Belle of Vancouver Golf Club was second at 10-under par. Roxburgh, the 13-time B.C. Amateur champion from Marine Drive Golf Club, was the overall low net winner. Kelowna’s Brian Clark edged Roxburgh by two shots to win the senior division.

AMATEURS SHINE: Port Coquitlam’s Yeji Kwon finished eighth at the Ororo PGA Women’s Championship at TPC Toronto. Kwon finished fourth in the pro division and made $3,500. A pair of amateurs dominated the competition as 15-year-old Michelle Xing of Richmond Hill, Ont. won with a 54-hole score of nine-under to beat Katie Cranston of Oakville, Ont., by two shots. Xing and Cranston both earned spots in the upcoming CPKC Women’s Open in Calgary. White Rock’s Clara Ding tied for ninth.

ONE DOWN: Four British Columbians have advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship. Gavyn Knight of Lantzville, Russell Howlett of Delta, Alex Zhang of Richmond and Manu Gandhi of North Vancouver claimed four of the nine spots available at a first-stage qualifier at Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Tacoma, Wash.

BACK TO BUSINESS: The PGA Tour Americas circuit resumes after a one-week break with the Explore NB Open in Fredericton. British Columbians Stuart Macdonald of Vancouver, Lawren Rowe of Victoria and Justin Towill of Kelowna are in the field.

‘WACK ATTACK: Kevin Stinson shot rounds of 66 and 67 and his 11-under total was good for a three-shot win at the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Chilliwack Open at Chilliwack Golf Club. Stinson, the head teaching pro at Cheam Mountain in Chilliwack, earned $5,000. Ziggy Nathu of Richmond Country Club was second and took home $3,500. Langley Golf Centre’s James Allenby and Tony Gil of Beach Grove Golf Club shared third at seven-under and each earned $2,250.