Twenty-one-year-old Alabaman Robby Shelton celebrates his GolfBC Championship win Sunday at Gallagher’s Canyon. Warren Henderson/Capital News

Kelowna marks breakthrough for Robby Shelton

Alabama native Robby Shelton leads wire-to-wire to win GolfBC Championship

Robby Shelton knew little about Kelowna or Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club before arriving in town last week.

Chances are the 21-year-old from Wilmer, Alabama will have fond memories of both for a long time to come.

Shelton led from wire-to-wire to capture the Mackenzie Tour’s GolfBC Championship by one stroke over three other players, sealing the title Sunday with a seven-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

It was the former University of Alabama standout’s first professional victory.

“It means a lot,” said Shelton, who finished at 19-under par. “Just to win anywhere is so exciting. Just to know that my game’s there and to finally get one done feels great.

“I still have to play well the rest of this season, but to get a win early on is huge and does a lot for my confidence.”

Fellow Americans Cody Blick, Johnny Ruiz and Adam Webb finished tied for second, one stroke back of Shelton.

Shelton has his share of PGA Tour experience, having made the cut in three of six events this season. He placed 16th this April at the Valero Texas Open. In 2015, as an amateur, he finished an upstart third at the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship, won by Scott Piercy.

The 2017 tournament was the second year of a four-year commitment to Kelowna and Gallagher’s Canyon by PGA TOUR-Canada.

Showcasing many of the game’s up-and-coming players, the Mackenzie Tour has served as a stepping stone for current PGA Tour players such as Canadians Adam Hadwin, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Nick Taylor and Mackenzie Hughes.

COURSE RECORD FOR DU TOIT…

Kimberley’s Jared du Toit made a memorable Mackenzie Tour debut, scorching Gallagher’s Canyon Saturday for a course-record round of 10-under par 61.

“I hadn’t shot a low one in a while, so to do it in my second event as a pro was very nice and a big relief,” said du Toit, who just turned pro this month. “Having your name kind of on the wall some place that’s not home is very cool, you know something I’m really proud of.”

Formerly the No. 1-ranked amateur in Canada, du Toit earned a sponsor’s exemption for the tournament and ended up tied for ninth at 12-under par.

As for his thoughts on Kelowna and the GolfBC Championship, du Toit was suitably impressed.

“I liked it a lot, it’s only the second year but it already seems very established, the volunteers were great. I really liked the tournament and I’m thankful for getting the sponsor exemption this week.”

du Toit captured the imagination of Canadian golf fans last year with a ninth-place finish at the Canadian Open.

The top Canadian at the GolfBC Championship was Vancouver’s Seann Harlingten who tied for seventh at -13.

Ex-world long drive champ Jamie Sadlowski, from St. Paul, Alta., made his Mackenzie Tour debut and tied for 24th at 10- under par.

HOPLEY SOAKS IT IN…

For Kelowna’s Matt Hopley the only thing missing from his first ever appearance in a pro tournament was making the cut.

The 15-year-old member at Gallagher’s Canyon, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, was the youngest player in the 156-man field.

“It was a great experience playing with some of the best players in Canada and even though I didn’t play too well I had so much fun, and I learned so much from these guys and playing with them,” said Hopley, who shot 75 each of the first two days at the GolfBC Championship.

Meanwhile, Hopley’s teacher and Gallagher’s director of instruction, Chris Trunzer, made the cut and finished in a tie for 68th.

GOLFBC FOR CHARITY

In addition to providing four days of entertainment for local golf fans, the 2017 GolfBC Championship generated $150,000 for two B.C. charities.

Following the tournament, with the help of generous donors and a significant contribution by the Chan Family Foundation and Mackenzie Tour—PGA TOUR Canada, GolfBC announced a $100,000 donation to the BC Cancer Foundation, and another $50,000 for Red Cross Kelowna flood relief.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the volunteers, corporate sponsors, and golf fans in Kelowna and the entire Okanagan Valley,” said tournament director Hugh Vassos.

“We are especially proud of the tremendous contribution to our chosen charities. The second annual GolfBC Championship is in the books as a success and the tournament continues to grow as one of the best on the Mackenzie Tour.”

 

Jared du Toit fired a tournament record 61 on Saturday.

Kelowna’s Matt Hopley was the youngest player in the field at the GolfBC Championship. -Image: Douglas Farrow

Just Posted

Three vehicle ‘sandwich’ crash delays traffic in Rutland

An accident at the McCurdy and Mayfair Road intersection was reported just before 4:30 p.m.

A BBQ thank you at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

The ninth annual Well Done BBQ brought Kelowna together

Two West Kelowna residents were arrested for alleged drug trafficking

RCMP executed a search warrant at a Chieftain Road home

Two Kelowna sites rezoned for pot shops

Cannabis retailers closer to reality for Lawrence Avenue, St. Paul Street

Vernon senior feels trapped in long-term care facility

Rose-Marie Lepodvin says she wants assisted living, but feels trapped in long-term care

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Interior forestry workers ratify five-year contract

It was approved by United Steelworkers Local 1-417, which represents workers in Kamloops, Kelowna

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Man surrenders following standoff in Kamloops

Massive police response in Kamloops was in connection with a reported domestic dispute

Penticton woman dies after Riva Ridge Mobile Park fire in May

BC Coroners Service says investigation in progress

Okanagan police service dog aids in arrest of break-and-enter suspect

Heavy police presence at Vernon’s Upper Room Mission results in PSD Jagger finding suspect, Calgary man

B.C. man faces deportation over father’s honour-killing conviction

Father lied to immigration, was later acquitted of charges in Jassi Sidhu’s murder

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Most Read