Birchbank Golf Course member Ben Gresley-Jones shot a scorching final round of 7-under par 65 to win the 56th annual Christina Lake Men’s Open on Sunday.
The victory makes Gresley-Jones a four-time champion of the popular event that saw 240 golfers tee off and compete for top prizes in their flights.
“It’s a big tournament, and a really deep tournament in terms of the quality of players that come.” said Christina Lake Golf Club Pro Kevin Maffioli. “Ben played unbelievable, he was 70, 65 for a 9-under score, so it’s good to see him back on the trophy.”
Gresley-Jones kept good company heading into the final round, playing against Creston native Daniel Brown, a 2009 BC Amateur Champion, and former pro-golfer Daniel Swanson of Abbotsford, who won the BC Mid-Amateur and Mid-Master’s Championship at the Ledgeview Golf and Country Club last month.
On the first day of the 36-hole tournament, Jones fired a 2-under par 70 at the par-72 course and trailed leader Brown, who shot 67, by three strokes heading into Sunday’s final round.
The putter zoned in on the final 18, as Gresley-Jones made a charge, shooting a 7-under 65 for a 135 total, while Brown finished with a 70 and 137 for second place, followed by Swanson with a 5-under 139.
“I played a pretty flawless second round, bogie free with five birdies and an eagle so it was a nice day,” said Gresley Jones. “I played pretty consistent throughout, and just made a lot of putts, and really didn’t miss on the greens.”
With family and work commitments, the 36-year-old Gresley-Jones hasn’t played as much golf as he once did, but he is getting out more and plans to play in the U.S. Amateur qualifier in Pullman, Wash. next month.
“It depends on life,” said Gresley-Jones. “I enjoy the competition and I’ve never really taken a run at anything more serious than that – I just enjoy playing golf.”
The 240-man field is one of the largest and finest amateur events in BC, with a healthy contingent of US golfers along with a strong representation from the West Kootenay.
“We do get a lot of Trail flavour, lots of Trail members come, and Rossland, Fruitvale, Nelson, Castlegar, Creston, guys from Alberta, had a guy from Detroit, Michigan, a handful from St. Louis, Seattle, and the Island,” added Maffioli. “They come from everywhere but most of our immediate play is West Kootenay and Okanagan.”