(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Provincial amateur golf championships go ahead with COVID-19 safety protocols

Alberta began its championship season on Tuesday

As each provincial golf association has planned its respective amateur championships, organizers have had to take a back-to-basics approach to keep players, officials, and volunteers safe from COVID-19.

“It’s all about the players, the golf course, and the tournament,” said John Deneer, events and tournament manager for Alberta Golf. “No excess, no nothing. Just the players, so I’m glad we can do that.”

Alberta began its championship season on Tuesday with its men’s mid-amateur championship at Coyote Creek Golf & RV Resort in Sundre.

That province has implemented strict rules for its championships including no caddies, no guardians accompanying juniors and no spectators at its championship tournaments. Volunteer commitments have been reduced as much as possible and scorecards won’t be signed by both players, all in an effort to “reduce multiple touch points.”

Deneer said that although he expected there would be slightly lower registration for the provincial championships, it was actually higher than usual.

“When we announced that we were going to run the championships we felt comfortable that we could run them in a safe manner,” said Deneer. “(The men’s mid-amateur) was full with a waitlist. … We’re getting full fields, a lot of participation.”

Golf Ontario opened registration for its championships on Wednesday morning, with executive director Mike Kelly confirming that its men’s amateur sold out in eight minutes. Ontario’s provincial association actually had to split up registration times for its amateur and junior championships — which open Thursday — in an effort to make sure its web servers didn’t crash.

Ontario is taking similar precautionary steps to safeguarding participants at its amateur championships, although its junior players will be permitted one guardian to walk the course with them.

Trophy ceremonies in Ontario will be limited to the winners and one official, although Golf Ontario plans to broadcast the championship celebrations online.

“The first championship trophy won’t be handed out until the very end of July so we have a bit of time to figure it out,” said Kelly, who noted that tournaments like the men’s and women’s senior championships would be held at the same venue so joint ceremonies can be held. “One of the things we’re looking at is using Zoom so we’re able to provide a link.”

Manitoba has also begun its championship schedule, with Bobbi Uhl (amateur women), Carl Lechman (senior men) and Austin Dobrescu (amateur men) being crowned provincial match play champions on Sunday.

These provincial championships will be the biggest golf tournaments of 2020 as Golf Canada had to cancel all of its national championships due to travel restrictions. The RBC Canadian Open, Canada’s men’s professional championship, was also cancelled, although the CP Women’s Open is still scheduled for early September in Vancouver.

Many provincial championships serve as qualifiers for national tournaments, so the cancelling of Canada-wide events have freed up dates later in the summer. British Columbia Golf CEO Kris Jonasson said his organization plans to make the most of those open weekends.

“We had very early in the competitive season determined that we would make a decision on each of our individual events four weeks in advance of the start of that particular championship,” said Jonasson, who noted that the first four events of B.C.’s season were cancelled but will now be rescheduled, likely into those slots left open by Golf Canada.

Jonasson also said that B.C.’s men’s amateur — slated for three weeks from now — may also be postponed, depending on when health authorities lift their ban on non-essential within the province.

“We’re now hopeful that in some type of a modified format we can get all of our championships in or at least enough championships that we can crown an individual winner in each of our respective categories.”

PGA TOUR — Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., is the highest ranked Canadian playing in this week’s Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. He sits 46th on the FedExCup rankings. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., are also in the field.

KORN FERRY TOUR — Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., became the top-ranked Canadian on the Korn Ferry Tour after he tied for 14th at last week’s King & Bear Classic. He is now 41st, moving up 23 spots from the previous week. He’ll be joined by Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald, Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., at this week’s Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Golf

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 1 eastbound has one lane closed as crews worked to clear up an accident earlier this afternoon.
Accident shuts down one lane eastbound on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Major congestion between Riverside Road and Sumas exit

Alan Pryor in 2015, during the Agassiz Fire Department’s 70th year. (Greg Laychak/The Observer)
Agassiz fireman celebrates 51 years at the hall

Al Pryor has been a key member in the Agassiz Fire Department since he was 16

Scales of Justice
Court awards woman $167K after vehicle was struck by White Rock taxi in 2016

Plaintiff’s knee injuries and resulting chronic pain disability are genuine, judge rules

Mike Bismeyer of Abbotsford is the recipient of the national Savita Shah Award for his work promoting kindness and anti-bullying initiatives.
Abbotsford man who was bullied as a teen receives national kindness award

Mike Bismeyer is one of two Canadians to earn Savita Shah Award

RCMP were on scene under the Menzies Street bridge in Chilliwack on Thursday, March 4, 2021 where a body was found. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Body found under Menzies bridge in Chilliwack that of man in 20s

Death not considered suspicious, said Chilliwack RCMP

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read