Uplands Golf Club in Oak Bay is abuzz with activity this week, with golfers starting to tee off Thursday morning for the opening round of PGA Tour Canada’s Royal Beach Victoria Open.
The 72-hole pro tournament, which wraps up Sunday, kicks off the tour’s 2022 season and is the first qualifying event for the Fortinet Cup. After no tournament was held in 2020 and a scaled-down version in 2021 saw Newfoundland’s Blair Bursey take the title, a full international field is vying for a piece of the $200,000 prize pool – with $36,000 going to the winner.
Among the Vancouver Island players in the field are veteran Canadian and Asian Tour PGA pro Jim Rutledge, Cory Renfrew, Callum Davison, Riley Wheeldon, Zach Anderson, Maxwell Sear and 18-year-old rising star Jeevan Sihota from Gorge Vale, who posted second- and sixth-place finishes in Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada pro events last year.
Early finishers on the par-70 Uplands course were showing that par could take a beating this year. Charles Huntzinger of the U.S. carded a 65 while fellow American Zack Taylor finished up at 66. Brendan MacDougall, who shot 67, was top Canadian among those who had completed their first round by 1 p.m. Thursday. The top 60 pros and ties, plus any amateurs inside the top 60, make the weekend cut after Friday’s round.
Wednesday saw the popular pro-am event, where pros are teamed up with four amateurs in an 18-hole competition for bragging rights and prizes.
Some of the pros were hosted for a fun long-drive competition and charitable event at Royal Beach in Colwood on Monday, by the property’s developers and Victoria Open title sponsors Reliance Properties and Seacliff Properties. While there, the golfers helped pass along a donation of $12,500 from new tour sponsor Fortinet to Salvation Army Victoria.
The Open, which dates back to 1981 in Greater Victoria, has seen many future PGA Tour players compete including Steve Stricker, Mike Weir, Scott McCarron and Stuart Appleby in past years, and more recently, current PGA pros Tony Finau and Canadians Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Adam Svensson and Roger Sloan.
Spectators who would like to watch the Royal Beach Victoria Open from the course can purchase tickets at the gates or the pro shop for $10 per day or $30 for the entire event.
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