Golf Digest: News from around the Kelowna links this week

We check in with the pros, the rec players and the youth golfers in our weekly golfing update

  • May. 27, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Predator Ridge members look on as Canadian golfer Mike Weir watches his shot at a recent trip to Predator.

The Junior Linkster Okanagan Golf Tour will be at Michaelbrook Ranch Golf Club on Sunday as kids from age eight to 16 continue their weekly golf tour.

a total of 22 tournaments scheduled over several courses such as Orchard Greens, Two Eagles, the Pinnacle at Gallaghers’s and Mission Creek.

Kids are separated by age and play based on Canadian Junior PGA rules. Medals are awarded for first to third place in each while a skills competition is held at the end of each day for prizes.

Junior golfers pay a one-time $50 entrance fee and can join anytime during the season which runs all summer and end Sept,. 9 at Two Eagles.

You can find out more at www.jrlinkster.com

•••

The Callaway Interior Tour made their third stop of the 2012 season on Tuesday at the Okanagan Golf Club’s Quail Course. The sunshine appeared in the afternoon to provide some great weather, and the golf course was in great condition for the field of 31 professionals from around the Okanagan.

Former Canadian Tour professional Greg Matchler edged out fellow Summerland Golf Club professional Tye Babkirk by one stroke to earn the victory, taking home a cheque worth $500. Host professional Miles Palahniuk finished in third with a round of 72, while Dale Machesney from Salmon Arm and Ethan Danish from Two Eagles rounded out the top 5 with scores of 73.

The next stop of the season is June 18th at the Canoe Creek Golf Club in Salmon Arm.

•••

Sixty-one golfers braved the windy cool and wet conditions this past Monday as the Molson Tour continued at the Okanagan Golf Club. Conditions were challenging but the golf course was perfect and the results were impressive.

Shane Cutinha, Scott Hiller, Al Knutson and Gary Yates claimed closest to the pin wins while Zoky Lakovic belted the long drive on hole 17 on the Quail course.

It was the first week players could accumulate points in the tour’s regular season. Below are the top five players from the week.

1. Dennis Young

2. Bryan Ritchat

3. Dave Kozak

4. Jim Malazdrewicz

5. Kelly Quist

•••

Canadian golf writer and broadcaster Bob Weeks was in Kelowna this week touring three local golf courses and taping a few episodes of ScoreGolfTV.

Weeks played Black Mountain, Sunset Ranch and Kelowna Springs and was impressed with not only the courses but some of the deals and atmosphere at each place.

With 19 courses in the area, Weeks said attracting golfers takes some planning.

“I think all three of these courses are examples of what golf needs to focus on in the future,” Weeks wrote at www.scoregolf.com. “The course is the main drawing card but the atmosphere around it is almost as important. Make golfers comfortable, give them a chance to get a deal on their fees, hold special events and they will beat a path to your door. You don’t need a 7,500-yard layout with waterfalls and greens that run 12 on the stimpmeter – you need playability and fun. There seems to be plenty of that in Kelowna.”

•••

Canadian golfer Mike Weir spent some time recentlly at Predator Ridge, conducting a members-only clinic and a short exhibition as he continues to try and comeback from a tough couple of years on the PGA tour.

Weir has a pretty long history of playing at Predator, playing at the golf resort during his time on the Canadian Tour as well as competing in two Telus Skins Games at Predator.

“I love the interior of British Columbia,” Weir said. “The Predator golf course is a lot of fun to play and has some really unique holes that work well in that format. I played a Canadian Tour event there in the early 1990s, and I remember thinking it was solid, and quirky. In the Skins format I liked it more and more.”

Weir played 10 holes with former PGA Tour winner Richard Zokol, who is the resort’s executive director of golf development, and LPGA Tour player AJ Eathorne, who is heading up women’s instruction. The group was joined by a few lucky members who each played two holes over the course of the round.

Weir has eight PGA Tour wins, including the 2003 Masters but has spent the year recovering from elbow surgery. He says he still has the passion to play.

“I’m still optimistic, but it is a challenge,” he said. “Until that motivation goes away I’m not giving up. I’m very motivated – I still want it and am eager to put in the hours it takes to get back. I believe – I don’t care what anyone else believes – I believe.”

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