Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Leah John notches first collegiate win; Richard Ingle new GM at Victoria Golf Club; Riviera not kind to Canadians; Henry Lee bounces back in Mexico
Vancouver, BC's Leah John (2nd From Left) Was The Individual Champion In The Show at Spanish Trail - Image Courtesy University of Nevada
By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
It was a great round immediately followed by the round of her life. Wherever her golf journey takes Leah John in the future, she will never forget the 36 holes she played on the opening day of The Show at Spanish Trail tourney in Las Vegas.
John, the reigning B.C. Women’s Amateur champion and a junior at the University of Nevada, carded rounds of 69 and 66 to set up what would be the first win of her collegiate career. The Vancouver native laughed when she described those opening two rounds in a telephone interview, “It was ridiculous,” John said.
“It was funny, I shoot 69 in the first round and it’s like okay, that was great, I want to be done for the day. But of course I have to go again. So I started playing my second round and was making a bunch of pars and then all of a sudden my putts just started to drop.”
The hole started looking like the size of a bucket to John, who was rolling in putts from everywhere. “I was making these 30-footers when all I was trying to do was get it close,” John said.
“They started dropping and it kept happening. It was exciting, but I was freaking out because it seemed all I was doing was lining it up, hitting it and it was going in. I felt a little bit out of control, like what is this super power.”
John made seven birdies in her second round and could have even gone lower than 66. “Shooting nine-under felt very possible,” she said. “It was wild. I missed a four-footer for birdie on the last hole and a six-footer for birdie on another hole.”
John took a four-shot lead into the final day, when golf became hard again. Conditions were much tougher with a steady 30-kilometre-an-hour wind blowing. She closed with a 77 to finish the event at four-under par. That was good for a two-shot win and John’s play helped Nevada place second in the team event behind UNLV.
John’s win came in her team’s spring season opener and gives her oodles of confidence for the busy stretch ahead. “It just affirms the things I have been doing and it’s just nice to have some hard work pay off,” she said. “It gives me more confidence in myself and my aspirations. It really fires up my engine even more.”
John, who is majoring in kinesiology at Nevada, won last summer’s B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship at Summerland Golf Club. She said she plans to defend that title this summer when the event is held June 21-24 at Pitt Meadows Golf Club.
DREAM JOB: Dreams sometimes do come true and Richard Ingle worked hard to see that his did. Ingle has been appointed the new general manager of Victoria Golf Club and is returning to his childhood home. The job at one of Canada’s most prestigious clubs, and British Columbia’s oldest golf course, comes less than three years after completing his MBA at Royal Roads University in Victoria. Ingle did his MBA while he was general manager at Arbutus Ridge in Cobble Hill. “It was the hardest 18 months of my life,” Ingle said. “I thought my wife was going to kill me.”
Ingle spent 13 years at Arbutus Ridge, first as a head professional, then as general manager, before joining Calgary’s Country Hills Golf Club as GM in October of 2020. He had no plans to leave Calgary, but then the Victoria job came open. “This is the culmination of everything I have worked towards,” Ingle said. “When I say work it’s not just in the golf business. I spent a large amount of effort in my education to be able to sort of open up some doors to stand out when it came to the big jobs in our industry. Victoria Golf Club was always the one for me because it’s where I grew up and played my junior golf. It was a position like this that I always sort of had in mind when I was doing my Masters and I was taking on different roles.”
Ingle starts his new job in early April.
WEEKEND OFF: It was not a banner week for the Canadians at the Genesis Invitational at famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. All five Canadians entered in the event missed the cut. That includes Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin and Roger Sloan of Merritt. Hadwin had made the cut in seven previous appearances at Riviera. The PGA TOUR heads to Florida for this week’s Honda Classic. Sloan, Nick Taylor of Abbotsford and Adam Svensson of Surrey are all in the field.
BOUNCING BACK: Coquitlam’s Henry Lee tied for 56th at the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s Estrella del Mar Open in Mazatlan, Mexico. Lee, who had struggled to a six-over 78 in the third round, closed with a three-under 69 to finish the event at five-under par. The tournament was something of a heart-breaker for Ziggy Nathu of Richmond and Kaleb Gorbahn of Smithers. Both were three-under par through 36 holes, but missed the cut by one shot. Nathu drew into the event as an alternate, while Gorbahn got in as a Monday qualifier. The next PGA Tour Latinoamerica event goes March 24-27 in Rio Hondo, Argentina.
HEADING SOUTH: Simon Fraser University’s men’s golf team begins its spring schedule this week. The SFU men are competing at The Joust at California Baptist University in Jarupa, Calif. The University of the Fraser Valley’s women’s team competes this week in Surprise, Ariz., at the OUAZ Sterling Grove Shootout. Ottawa University, an Arizona-based NAIA school, is playing host to the event. The UFV men are competing at The Prestige Individual Invitational in La Quinta, Calif. The event is co-hosted by Stanford and UC Davis. The Cascades will compete in the individual event, which runs concurrent with the team event.
THREE’S COMPANY: Ian Kim of Surrey and Lawren Rowe of Squamish Valley Golf Club both fired four-under 68s to share top spot at a Vancouver Golf Tour event at Pitt Meadows Golf Club. Lucas O’Dell of the host club matched that score to win the amateur division.