The GolfBC Championship was the third stop of the season on the Mackenzie Tour. -Image: Douglas Farrow

GolfBC Championship hits the mark in Kelowna

More than 5,000 fans took in the Mackenzie Tour event at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club

Over the final two rounds of the GolfBC Championship, a large and supportive gallery followed Kimberley’s Jared du Toit and his bid for his first professional victory.

Tournament director Hugh Vassos said the response from fans last weekend at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club was a clear sign that interest in the Mackenzie Tour continues to grow.

“Golf fans are starting to follow this tour more and more, they’re beginning to realize the quality of player that’s out there,” said tournament director Hugh Vassos.

“There are some fan favourites out there now, Jared du Toit was one player who had a huge following, people walking the course with him and supporting him…it was fun to see.”

The Canadian-born du Toit contended throughout the tournament and led after two rounds, before eventually finishing in a career-best fifth place, four shots back of champion George Cunningham.

The 2018 tournament at Gallagher’s Canyon was the third installment in a four-year commitment by the GolfBC Group as the title sponsor of the Mackenzie Tour event.

Based on the progress the event has made since its maiden voyage in 2016, Vassos is hopeful Kelowna will become a permanent stop on PGA TOUR Canada’s annual schedule.

“We’re very happy with where we’re at in year three, this event has continually grown better and better,” said Vassos. “My overall opinion is that it was the best one yet.

“We’d like to see it continue,” added Vassos. “GolfBC has been a tremendous sponsor. It would be great if the tournament could come to Kelowna for the long haul.”

Vassos lauded Kelowna as a prime location for the tournament, based both on the popularity of golf in the area and the attractiveness of the Okanagan, to both players and fans.

“We listen very closely to the players and they love it in Kelowna, they like to come to play and visit, see what the city has to offer,” said Vassos. “Some of them bring family and friends. (Champion) George Cunningham brought his whole family.

“The feedback we got was very positive.”

Vassos said fan interest in the tournament continues its upward trend with an excess of 5,000 fans making their way to Gallagher’s Canyon for the 2018 event.

Off the course, the GolfBC Group once again made a significant contribution to charity, donating $150,000 to the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

This week, the Mackenzie Tour is in Lethbridge, AB for the fourth stop of the season, the Paradise Canyon Open.

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