Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Simon Fraser University men clinch spot in NCAA Division II national championship tourney; UBC, University of Victoria off to NAIA championships; Strong named new PGA of BC executive director

SFU Red Leafs Men's Golf Team - Image Courtesy SFU/Sonoma State Athletics

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

The solid play of senior Aidan Goodfellow (Centre In Team Photo Shown) and a pair of clutch 18th-hole birdies by Michael Crisologo and Jordan Bean helped the Simon Fraser University men’s golf team earn a spot in the NCAA Division II national championship tourney for the first time since 2015.

The Red Leafs tied for fourth at the West/South Central regional tourney in Rohnert Park, Calif., where the top five teams earned spots in the national championship tourney.

It was a nail-biter of a final round as only seven strokes separated the top nine teams.

The Red Leafs posted their 54-hole team score of seven-over and then had to hold their collective breaths and wait while three other contending teams finished their rounds.

“When our first player, Ryan Hodgins, finished his round, at that point we were tied for fourth with five other teams and we were one shot out of being in the lead overall,” said SFU coach Matthew Steinbach. “I’ve never seen a tournament leaderboard like that. Literally, there were 10 teams in the mix.”

SFU finished tied with Oklahoma Christian at seven-over. Chico State was alone in third at five-over. Western Washington and Sonoma State tied for top spot at three-over. Sonoma State was subsequently declared the winner when a playoff was called off after two holes because of darkness.

Goodfellow, a Parksville native who is wrapping up his collegiate career, led the way for SFU. He finished the tourney third overall at five-under par. “I am just so impressed with Aidan,” Steinbach said. “The golf course we played is really tricky. You can’t really over-power it. You need to hit it far, but you also need to be precise. It requires a high level of discipline. Aidan played at another level. He is playing phenomenal right now.”

SFU still needed those birdie putts from Bean and Crisologo on the final hole to punch their ticket to nationals. “Jordan stuffed his approach on 18 and had a tap-in,” Steinbach said.

BC Golf Image

SFU Red Leafs Head Golf Coach, Matthew Steinbach

“Michael was our second to last guy and we kind of knew where we were score-wise. We thought getting to seven (over) would be crucial. Michael hit his shot on the high side of the hole and had a really fast putt from about 20 feet. He asked me, ‘Do we need to make this?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not, we need to two-putt this.’ And then he went ahead and made it.

“The place went crazy and I went crazy and he went crazy. Michael is a pretty reserved guy and it was probably the most emotion I have seen from him. That was such a huge putt.”

The NCAA championship tourney goes May 22-26 at Avalon Lakes in Warren, Ohio, where 20 teams will play 54 holes of stroke play. The top eight teams then advance to match play.

EWART ADVANCES: Coquitlam’s A.J. Ewart is also heading to the NCAA Division II national championship tourney. Ewart’s Barry University team finished second at the South/Southeast regional tourney. Ewart, who was recently named Sunshine State Conference player of the year for the second straight year, tied for third in the individual competition at six-under par. That was three shots behind winner Andrew Riley of Palm Beach Atlantic.

ARIZONA CALLING: The University of B.C. and University of Victoria both have spots in the field at this week’s NAIA national men’s championship tourney at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. The T-Birds are ranked 12th heading into the event, while Victoria is 13th. The 156-player field features 29 teams and 11 individual qualifiers. Mackenzie Bickell, JP Kahlert, Hudson LaFayette, Dylan MacDonald and Aidan Schumer will be UBC’s starting five, while UVic’s lineup consists of Zach Ryujin, Aiden Craig, Liam Mosher, Robin Conlan and Chase Basanta.

MAJOR MOMENT: Surrey’s Adam Svensson and the Abbotsford duo of Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin are competing in this week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Taylor and Svensson did not play last week, while Hadwin tied for 34th at the AT&T Byron Nelson tourney in McKinney, Tex., and made $45,442. Hadwin had his brother Kyle on his bag as his regular caddie, Joe Cruz, took the week off. Merritt’s Roger Sloan, who was playing the Byron Nelson on a sponsor’s exemption, tied for 79th and made $17,480.

IT’S A GIRL: Taylor is returning to play after a three-week break, during which his wife Andie delivered their second child. Harper Mae Taylor — a sister to three-year-old Charlie — arrived on May 6 and Taylor reports that baby and mom are both doing well.

NEW BOSS: Mark Strong is the new executive director of the PGA of BC. Strong, most recently general manager and executive professional at Sagebrush Golf Club in Quilchena, begins his new duties May 23. Strong joined the PGA of BC in 2005 and has worked in various capacities at private and public clubs. “I am honoured to accept the position of executive director and am thrilled to begin serving you all in this new capacity,” Strong said in a PGA of BC release.

Image Courtesy PGA of BC

The PGA of BC's New Executive Director, Mark Strong

“While I have always taken pride in my involvement with our association since becoming a golf professional, I consider the lead role at the PGA of BC to be the most exciting opportunity of my career.” Strong succeeds Donald Miyazaki, who was fired in January after serving as executive director for almost 13 years. Miyazaki recently filed a civil suit against the PGA of BC claiming his termination was “without cause and without reasonable notice” and was a breach of his contract.

IN THE WORKS: Six University of B.C. golfers played in the recent PGA WORKS Collegiate Championships in Birmingham, Ala. Sonja Tang was the top UBC player, finishing fourth in the women’s individual competition. Fellow T-Birds Abby Chow, Una Chou, Jessica Ng, Emily Li and Neel Soni also competed, The PWCC featured teams and individuals representing Black, Hispanic and other minority-serving institutions.

CHIP SHOTS: Delta’s Amanda Minni and her Oregon State University teammates have qualified to play in the NCAA Division I Championships, which go May 19-24 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz . . .Kaleb Gorbahn of Smithers fired a six-under 66 to win the Vancouver Golf Tour’s one-day Chilliwack Championship at Chilliwack Golf Club by one shot over Lawren Rowe of Squamish. . .Course designer Les Furber hit a ceremonial tee shot last week to mark the 30th anniversary of Bootleg Gap Golf Course in Kimberley.