Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Texas crash hits home for UBC coach; Hadwin notches second straight top 10; Bald Eagle could be put up for sale; Victoria Liu earns first collegiate win; Canadian Open regional qualifier set for Meadow Gardens

UBC Golf Coach Chris Macdonald - BC Golf Photo

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Chris Macdonald has spent considerable time thinking about the young lives lost in the devastating accident in Texas involving a New Mexico school’s golf teams.

The longtime coach of the University of British Columbia’s men’s and women’s golf teams has also reflected on how much time he has spent driving his teams to and from tournaments.

“It’s just devastating, such a tragedy,” Macdonald said of the crash that killed six members of the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams, as well as their coach, and left two other students critically injured. “I think I have probably driven over 200,000 kilometres in a mini-van with the teams in the 22 years I have been here.

“Accidents, unfortunately, are going to happen, but it’s so scary because the No. 1 responsibility I have to my team is their safety. . .it’s just so sad. These students work so hard for their sport, they work so hard for their school and they rely on us to get them back home safely.”

Macdonald noted that collegiate golf travel is more complicated than many other sports. “It’s not like it’s a basketball game where you are just there for a couple of hours and the game is over and you fly home,” he said.

“It’s a drive usually of five to seven hours minimum, then practice round, then 36 holes the next day, then 18 holes the next morning and then drive home seven hours. Obviously, when we have the opportunity and the budget to fly we prefer to do that.”

Macdonald had discussions with both his men’s and women’s teams about the Texas crash. “I just really feel for the coach and his family and what they are going through and all these students and their families,” he said. “These are just tragedies. There’s so little you can say.”

The two injured players are Canadians Hayden Underhill and Dayton Price, both of Ontario. Go Fund Me fundraisers have been started to help both players and their families.

HADWIN HOT: Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin recorded his second straight top 10 with a tie for seventh at the Valspar Championship. Hadwin finished the event at 12-under par. That was five shots behind winner Sam Burns, who beat Davis Riley on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Hadwin, who tied for ninth at last week’s Players Championship, earned $228,930 and moved up 18 spots to 44th on the FedEx Cup points list.

Surrey’s Adam Svensson, at five-under, tied for 39th at the Valspar, while Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor finished at two-over par and tied for 70th. Taylor, Svensson and Merritt’s Roger Sloan, who missed the cut at the Valspar, are all in the field for this week’s Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic.

HEADING TO MARKET?: There’s not much going on at Bald Eagle Golf Club in Point Roberts that would indicate the course is going to re-open any time soon. And a local realtor who has worked as an assistant manager at the club acknowledges that the facility, which has been closed for two years, could soon be put up for sale. “We can’t really comment on it,” said Tracey Evans.

“Some of the ownership are offshore, so we are just waiting until everybody has put their thoughts into it and see what happens. Other than that, I can’t really disclose anything factual right at this point. It’s a rather grey area right now.” Bald Eagle’s website suggests the course plans to reopen late spring or early summer. But there’s no guarantee that will happen. “Hopefully that’s the intent, but we don’t have any firm information on that as well,” Evans said. “The goal is to reopen as soon as possible, but we are in a bit of a holding pattern right now.”

ROOKIE WIN: Vancouver’s Victoria Liu earned her first individual collegiate win as she led the Princeton Tigers to the team title at the Low Country Intercollegiate in North Hilton Head, S.C. Liu, in her freshman year at Princeton, completed the 54-hole event at two-under par. Teammate Tiffany Kong of Vancouver tied for fifth at five-over.

OPEN SEASON: Registration is open for a RBC Canadian Open regional qualifier that will be held May 17 at Meadow Gardens Golf Course in Pitt Meadows. The top finisher in the qualifier will earn a spot in the Canadian Open, providing a minimum of 100 players play in the event. The top 10 per cent of the field will earn a spot in the final Monday qualifier of tournament week. This year’s Canadian Open goes June 9-12 and will be played at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto.

ROUTE 66: Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald closed with a five-under 66 and tied for 33rd at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Macdonald heads into this week’s Lake Charles Championship in Louisiana 117th on the Korn Ferry Tour points list.

SIXTH AT SHOOTOUT: Simon Fraser University’s men’s golf team finished sixth at the Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout in Alameda, Calif. SFU finished the 54-hole event played on the South Course at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex with a team score of five-under par. Freshman Bailey Bjornson tied for 14th at the three-under par to register his fourth top-15 showing this season.

PODIUM FINISHES: The UBC-Okanagan and University of Fraser Valley women’s team both placed well at the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate tourney in Las Vegas. UBC-Okanagan finished second, five shots behind tournament winners Embry-Riddle. The UFV Cascades were two shots behind UBC-O in third place. Emily Cornwall led UBC-O with a tie for second in the individual competition. Emery Bardock, Coral Hamade and Lucy Park all tied for seventh for UFV.

HEADING SOUTH: The PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit resumes its season this week at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational in Argentina. Coquitlam’s Henry Lee and Ziggy Nathu of Richmond are both in the field.

JUNIOR CHAMPS: Kelowna’s Cooper Humphreys beat the field by 10 shots to win the Canadian Junior Golf Association’s Humber College PGM Western Canadian Championship at Mayfair Lakes in Richmond, Humphreys finished the 54-hole event at eight-under par. Angela Arora of Surrey won the junior girls title by one shot over Katherine Hao of Burnaby with a score of one-under par.

CHIP SHOTS: Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam is targeting April 1 as the re-opening date of its country club course . . .GolfBC has set April 1 as opening date for its two Kelowna facilities, Gallagher’s Canyon and Okanagan Golf Club. . .Tobiano in Kamloops is also scheduled to open on April 1. Rivershore in Kamloops opened for play March 18.