Greater Trail golfers shoot for provincials

B.C. amateur and senior zone qualifiers determined.

Rossland-Trail’s Brad Harding and Creston’s Kowan O’Keefe captured top spots in their respective B.C. Golf provincial qualifiers over the weekend.

One dozen senior golfers and 10 amateur golfers, representing six area courses, teed up for the two-day zone provincial qualifiers held at Christina Lake on Saturday and Rossland’s Redstone Resort on Sunday.

Up for grabs were four berths in each division and a chance to compete for a provincial title.

“Once again the courses were in good condition and the players enjoyed the challenge the two different courses provided,” said Don Courson, B.C. Golf’s Zone 1 West chairman.

Harding topped the field in the seniors event in his first try at that age group.

He carded a 73 on Saturday and 77 on Sunday for a two-day total of 150.

That was 10 strokes better than his nearest competitor Dan Knutson of Castlegar.

Knutson, who posted a total of 160, was one of three Castlegar golfers to make the final four in the senior flight. He was followed by Al Axleson at 162 and Vic Jmaeff at 163.

On the amateur side, O’Keefe got off to a blazing start on Saturday and never looked back.

The Creston-based golfer fired a six-under par 30 on the front nine at Christina Lake and finished with a 68 on the first day. A round of 74 at Redstone was enough to give him a two-stroke cushion over Christina Lake’s Jordan Hoodikoff who finished in second.

O’Keefe is no stranger to success this year. A sophomore at Minot State University in North Dakota, O’Keefe was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s (NSIC) Golfer of the Year last month. He won the NSIC championship, had seven top-10 finishes.

This will mark his third trip to the B.C. Amateurs. His best finish was a tie for 22nd in 2011 in Kamloops.

Christina’s Tanner Kopan posted the best round of the day at Redstone with a 72 and finished third in qualifying with a two-day total of 145.

Redstone’s Kevin Bennett grabbed the final berth with rounds of 73 and 76 for a 149 total.

The B.C. Amateur championship will be held July 9 to 11 at the Springs at Radium. The B.C. Senior championship, for players 55 and up, will be held July 29 to 31 at the Eaglepoint Golf Resort in Kamloops.