Ziemer's B.C. Notes: Ewart draws Svensson comparisons from coach; Hadwin ties for 6th in Vegas; UBC sweeps team titles at Canada West tourney; Pagoda Ridge in Langley sold; du Toit off to New Mexico for second stage of Q-School

Coquitlam, BC's A.J. Ewart - image courtesy Golf Canada

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Coquitlam’s A.J. Ewart keeps winning at Barry University in south Florida and his game is reminding his college coach of another British Columbia recruit. 

That would be PGA TOUR regular Adam Svensson of Surrey, who honed his game at Barry before turning pro. Svensson won nine tournaments -- seven in his sophomore year -- before leaving Barry part way through his junior year to chase his pro golf dream.

Ewart, just starting his junior year at Barry, won his fourth event last week.

“They are both pretty good ball-strikers,” longtime Barry coach Jimmy Stobs said in a telephone interview. “Adam is probably a better ball-striker, but A.J. has a better short game. They play similar games. They are not the longest hitters, but they hit a lot of fairways, they hit a lot of greens and they don’t make bogeys.

“That is how you become successful in golf at every level, junior, college, pro. If you don’t make bogeys you are going to be pretty successful and that is why A.J. is always in contention at tournaments, just like Adam was.”

Ewart shot rounds of 68, 66 and 68 to finish at 11-under par and win last week’s Shark Invitational tourney in Davie, Fla. by two shots. His performance propelled Barry to the team title in the NCAA Division II event. “We were trying to figure out how many second places he has had,” Stobs said of Ewart, a graduate of Gleneagle Secondary in Coquitlam.

image courtesy Barry U Athletics

“I don’t know for sure, but I think he has had six or seven second-place finishes. He’s right there all the time. . .He’s the name to beat (in NCAA Division II) right now, for sure.”

Stobs said Ewart and Svensson both benefitted from being part of Canada’s national golf program. “Both of them have very high golf IQs,” Stobs said. “I really admire Canadian national team coach Derek Ingram and what he has done with that program. I have recruited other Canadians from that program and they present themselves like little pros. They are very disciplined, they are very structured, they know how to practice already and they are very committed and focused, They are very easy to coach, that’s for sure.”

Unlike Svensson, Stobs expects Ewart to play his senior year at Barry. “He is going to finish his four years and graduate and then he is going to turn pro,” Stobs said. “That is what he has indicated to me. I think that is smart. I think his game still needs some fine-tuning and it helps to stay in college and mature a little bit more. He’s mature, but it just helps.”

Barry’s next tournament goes Oct. 19-20 at the Copperhead Championship in Innisbrook, Fla.

VEGAS BABY: Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin hit the jackpot with a top-10 finish in Las Vegas. Hadwin closed with a 4-under 67 and tied for 6th at 18-under, 6 shots behind winner Sungjae Im, and made $245,000. Fellow Abbotsford product Nick Taylor tied for 47th and earned $17,927. Merritt’s Roger Sloan and Adam Svensson of Surrey missed the cut. The PGA TOUR stays in Sin City for this week’s CJ Cup @ Summit. None of the four B.C. players qualified to play in the limited 78-player field.

BEST OF THE WEST: The UBC Thunderbirds swept both the men’s and women’s team titles at the Canada West Championships played at Squamish Valley Golf Club. First-year player Grace Bell won the individual title to lead the UBC women to a successful title defence. Bell finished the 36-hole event at one-under par as the UBC women beat the second-place UBC Okanagan Heat by 27 shots with a final team score of three-over par. The Victoria Vikes placed third.

The UBC men posted a team score of 25-under par, good for a 23-shot win over the 2020 champions from the University of the Fraser Valley. Russell Howlett led the way for UBC at seven-under par. Howlett lost the individual title in a playoff with Calgary’s Ethan Banks. The Dinos placed third in the men’s team competition.

NATIONALS CANCELLED: The Canadian University/College Championship, which had been scheduled to be played next week in British Columbia, has been cancelled. Adam Cinel, Golf Canada’s manager of rules and competitions, cited the fact that many schools across the country were facing different return-to-sport protocols for their student athletes and some institutions have been advised to take steps to limit travel and overnight stays. 

“In order to ensure that all institutions have a fair chance to qualify and travel to compete in a national championship, Golf Canada and the Golf Coaches Association of Canada have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Canadian University/College Championship,” Cinel said in a letter to coaches and administrators. “We remain committed to conducting this championship and now turn our efforts to finalizing a host venue and institution for May 2022.”

PAGODA SOLD: Another Metro Vancouver area golf course has been sold. Pagoda Ridge in Langley is changing hands as the Brown family, which has owned the property since the mid-1970s, has agreed to sell the course. General manager Larry Brown confirmed the deal was done, but declined further comment. The Browns opened Pagoda Ridge in 2012 and it has become one of the Fraser Valley’s most popular courses. The new ownership is not expected to take possession of the course until early next year. Peace Portal Golf Course in Surrey was sold this past summer and that deal closed last week. The new owners of Peace Portal are local businessmen Joe Haley and Randy Bishop.

ON TO NEW MEXICO: Kimberley’s Jared du Toit will play the second stage of the Korn Ferry Tour’s qualifying school Oct. 19-22 at the University of New Mexico’s Championship Course in Albuquerque. He’ll be hoping to advance to the Q-School finals, which go Nov. 4-7 at The Landings Club in Savannah, Ga. Du Toit made it through the first stage of Q-School in Dayton, Nev. earlier this month.

BIG STEP: Callum Davison is a more seasoned pro than most 21-year-olds. The Duncan native turned pro shortly after graduating from high school and spent time playing pro circuits in Europe, like the EuroPro and Alps tours. “That taught me a lot, especially in the first year,” says Davison, who won twice on the Mackenzie Tour this season and topped the points list.

“You can play well in really good junior fields and feel like you’re ready for the next step. It’s an eye-opener when you get out there because no matter what tour it is, it is tough. You are shooting under par to make cuts rather than under par to be in contention.” Davison is fully exempt for the 2022 Mackenzie Tour season. He also hopes to try and qualify to play the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica circuit next year.