Local golfer Padraic O’Rourke came out on top at the PGA of B.C. Club Professional Championship (CPC) at Royal Colwood Golf Club on Vancouver Island on Sept. 21.
“It was great. I didn’t go there with a lot of expectations, to be honest. I didn’t play a lot of golf this year and I guess going in there with a little bit lower expectations was kind of a good thing,” said O’Rourke, the director of golf at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club.
“I just took my game for where it was at and just sort of managed my ball really well for the two days and I hit 33 out of the 36 greens in regulation, so I definitely stroked the ball well and that probably separated me from the field a bit.”
The annual two-day tournament invited any members who serve in head-executive or head-teaching professional roles, and those that operate teaching facilities not associated with a golf course, to register.
According to PGA of B.C. communications manager Eric Mackenzie, a booming interest in golf thanks to its status as a COVID-19-friendly sport meant most local golf professionals eligible to play in this tournament haven’t had the same amount of time available to work on their games as they may have had in previous years, which left the field of competitors more open than usual.
And O’Rourke, who has finished top five in the tournament multiple times before, but was never in striking distance of the top spot, took advantage of that open field.
“I knew if I played well I could win for sure but I wasn’t going to lose any sleep over it,” said O’Rourke. “It’s been a really busy golf season so I haven’t been able to get out and play a lot of golf.
“I played the practise round and I knew the scoring there was going to be really tough because the greens are very tricky, so I knew that something around par for the two days wasn’t going to be too far away. So I had that in mind for the two rounds and luckily I was able to shoot a couple under and ended up winning by five.”
O’Rourke finished round one tied for the lead with last year’s winner Brad Clapp of the Ledgeview Golf Club in Abbotsford, but separated himself from the pack on Day 2, winning the tournament and getting his hand on the Dick Munn trophy and a cheque for $2,700.
“It feels amazing, to be honest, to be able to get my name on the trophy beside some of the names on it,” O’Rourke said in a press release from PGA of B.C. “To get the monkey off the back feels great, there’s no doubt about that.”
On top of winning the CPC this year, O’Rourke also won the 2020 Dick Munn Golf Professional of the Year award for his work in the business and career development side of the sport. He joins Kelowna Golf and Country Club’s head professional Rob Anderson and Point Grey Golf and Country Club’s Dave Zibrik as the only people to win each award since the CPC started in 2006.
Next up on his calendar for this season, O’Rourke will be heading to Ontario at the end of the month to play in the Canadian Club Professional Championship. After winning the B.C. CPC and shooting a 65 at Nicklaus North during the Whistler Open, he believes another win is well within the realm of possibility.
“You never know, right? I’m feeling pretty good about my game and if I play my game, I won’t be too far away, to be honest,” he said. “Obviously, I have never seen the golf course but I look forward to getting out there a couple days early and having a look around. Competition will be high, but if the game shows up, I won’t be a million miles away.”