OLIVER, BC (July 14) - The first round of the 113th BC Amateur Championship at Fairview Mountain is in the books and while three players, Jared du Toit, Ian Kim and Conner Kozak share the lead at (-4) 68, there's six players within one stroke and 17 players who shot under par.
With three rounds still to go in the 72-hole stroke play tournament, it's still anybody's tournament to win.
Two of the leading scores came out of the morning flight of golfers. Jared du Toit, who will be attending Arizona State University this August after two sterling seasons as an Idaho Vandal, started with a (+2) 38 on the front nine before turning it on and shooting (-6) 30 on the back 9 for a (-4) total of 68.
"It could have been 28 on the back because I lipped out putts on both 17 and 18," said the Kimberley native. "I'm pretty happy with the turnaround I made after my front 9. I think there's still a lot of low numbers out there."
Du Toit found a lot of those low numbers, including back-to-back eagles on 11 and 12."That really jumpstarted my round," said du Toit. "I played really solid and that's what I want to bring to each round."
Ian Kim, who will be attending the University of Idaho this autumn, matched du Toit's round, but in a completely different way.
Starting on the 10th tee, Kim triple-bogeyed his second hole en route to a (+1) 37. But then Kim kicked his game into overdrive, making three birdies and an eagle on the fifth for a (-5) 31.
"I hit it to six inches for eagle on 5," said Kim. "I played a solid round after the triple. It was one errant shot that cost me, but I'm happy to shoot 68. I'll take that every time, especially after the start I had. I battle back and got myself back into this tournament."
The lone (-4) 68 in the afternoon came from Vernon's Conner Kozak. "It was a pretty stress-free round," said Kozak of his four birdie, no bogey day. "I tried not to pay attention to what the guys shot in the morning and focus on my own game and I think I did that."
Kozak, who plays out of and works at the Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club in Vernon, said he thinks there are even lower scores out there in Round 2. "If you keep your ball in play and keep the ball underneath the hole, you've got a lot of chances to score. There will definitely be more low scores."
Sitting one stroke behind are six golfers, including Kitimat's Dylan Kerbrat, Jacob Vanderpas of Vancouver and Henry Lee of Coquitlam, who carded their scores in the morning flight, and Marcus Brown of Surrey, Stu Macdonald of Vancouver and Dallas Jones of Ladysmith, who carded their (-3) rounds in the afternoon.
"The putts started to drop for me on my back 9," said Kerbrat, who teed off from the 10th tee and made bogey to start his day. But five birdies and only one bogey later, Kerbrat was in the clubhouse only one stroke out of the lead.
"I thought even par would be good after my start, but I went three better," said the 20-year-old apprentice electrician. "I just have to keep patient, keep my ball in play and hopefully, my putter stays hot."
Vanderpas has a similar story to tell, making double on his first hole and then another bogey on his third hole. But six birdies for the rest of his round has him also at (-3) 69.
"My birdie run started on 12 when I hit a wedge in close," said Vanderpas. "I wanted to hit driver, but my dad (Jay) told me not to and I'm glad I didn't. That got my round going and I'm happy with where I am."
Vanderpas said he's got a simple strategy going forward into Round 2. "I love hitting my cut, hitting fairways and then hitting wedges close," said the Marine Drive member. "I'll go work on my putting now and see if more of those putts drop."
As for Lee, it was a six birdie, three bogey day that could have been much better. "That (69) was the worst score I could have shot," said Lee. "I hit the ball so solidly and I just didn't make the putts."
And Lee is taking no prisoners as he plays his next round. "My plan is to continue to attack the golf course," said Lee. "If there's no wind, there's a low score out there for me."
Marcus Brown has perhaps the best story to tell, having come to Fairview Mountain on Sunday to successfully play his way into the tournament with an even par 72, only to go three strokes better in Round one.
"That was the best round of putting I've ever had," said the 19-year-old SFU student golfer. "I haven't really been playing well until this week and now I'm pretty happy with how it's come together this week. Tomorrow, I'll stick to the game plan, see if I can continue making a lot of putts."
Macdonald played well and drew off the energy of playing with first-round co-leader Conner Kozak. "Definitely there was some good energy playing with Conner," said Macdonald. "We've known each other for some time and played a lot of golf together so it was pretty comfortable out there."
Macdonald made four birdies and only one bogey. "Everything was pretty solid out there," said the Purdue Boilermaker student who also has qualified for the U.S. Amateur. "I putted pretty solid and my ball striking was solid. Overall, a good round and I'm in a good spot."
Jones is a 20-year-old who has to balance golf with his job working at Western Forest Products. "I don't get to golf as much as I would like, but I'm pretty happy with how I played today," said Jones. "I kept the ball underneath the hole and hit it pretty straight so it was a good round for me."
Jones was helped by two eagles on the day, on the fifth and 11th holes. Also on the course Tuesday morning was Royal Colwood's Kevin Carrigan, who shot a (+3) 75 which included a 9-iron hole out from the 3rd tee after his tee shot went out-of-bounds left.
"It was a nine-iron and an easy par," said Carrigan, who actually made a better score than his playing partners Roy Kang and Henry Lee, who both hit the green in regulation. "That's golf. I hit the first one way left, as left as I could hit it and then the next one goes in."
Other notable scores on Tuesday were a (-1) round of 71 by defending champion Jordan Lu; an even par 72 by BC Mid-Amateur Champion Jordan Belton; a (+1) 73 by BC Junior Boys Champion Jake Scarrow; and a (+2) 74 by 13-time BC Amateur Champion Doug Roxburgh, playing in his 49thBC Amateur.
Round 2 of the BC Amateur at Fairview Mountain begins at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. After Wednesday's round, a cut to low 70 and ties, along with the top 5 Best Ball teams, will be made.
ABOUT BRITISH COLUMBIA GOLF
British Columbia Golf - a member-based organization governed by the British Columbia Golf Association (BCGA) - represents more than 57,000 individual golfers, in over 300 clubs at 261 member courses. As the governing body for golf in the province, British Columbia Golf acts as the voice for provincial golf affairs and functions as a resource centre for the golf industry. Through its affiliation with Golf Canada, the association is also involved in national golf affairs.
British Columbia Golf as it exists today was formally established on October 1, 2004, following the amalgamation of the British Columbia Ladies Golf Association Golf Association (BCLGA) and the British Columbia Golf Association (BCGA).
Although the origins of the association date back to 1893, British Columbia Golf was incorporated with a mandate to hold the B.C. Men's Amateur Championship on April 14, 1922, with J.E. Hall of Vancouver Golf Club elected the first president. The B.C. branch of the CLGA was not formed until 1932. Other goals of British Columbia Golf were to encourage regions around the province to form local associations, to conduct a local championship and to standardize the Rules of Golf among the representative clubs.
By British Columbia Golf Association