Doug Roxburgh of Vancouver

Golfers go low at Pheasant Glen

Opening round of 114th B.C. Amateur Golf Tournament sees 42 players under par

This week marks Doug Roxburgh’s first time playing Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach, but the veteran says he is treating this week’s B.C. Amateur Golf Championship the same as he has each of his previous championships.

All 49 of them.

“I was just looking forward to it, like all the rest,” Roxburgh said of his milestone 50th straight B.C. Am appearance.

The 13-time winner, coming off a partial knee replacement surgery in January, shot a respectable 2-over-par 74 in Tuesday’s opening round, but that left him well back in the pack on a rain-splashed day on which 42 golfers shot under par.

That group was led by William Deck of Kelowna and Roy Kang of North Vancouver, who both shot 66 to share the early lead.

Deck’s threesome included Brian De Biasio, the 63-year-old Pheasant Glen club champion, who got off to a blistering start and finished at 4-under 68 to join a group of six players tied for sixth place.

“I thought he was going to shoot the course record today after his first four holes,” Deck, 24, said of De Biasio.

De Biasio, who started on the back nine and shot -4 through the first four holes, might have gone even lower. He nearly aced the par-3 eighth hole with a tee shot that bounced past the pin before spinning back, then missed the two-and-a-half-foot birdie putt to settle for par. But he wound up getting the stroke back on his closing hole, the par-5 ninth, when he pushed his approach shot two feet onto the apron behind the green and followed with a 25-foot birdie putt.

“I’m tickled,” he said of his opening round, which ended just as the first downpour began in earnest. “If you had told me coming in today I’d have a 68 I’d have happily taken it. On (my) back nine I couldn’t get anything going, but I did manage to finish with birdie, so that was good.”

Among the golfers finishing in the red Tuesday was Parksville teen Aidan Goodfellow, a Pheasant Glen Golf Academy product who joined a group at 2-under-par 70. Pheasant Glen golfer Matthew Haddad was one stroke back at 71, where a dozen golfers sat tied for 30th.

In all, 58 of the 156 golfer matched or beat par. Though Roxburgh was not among them — his 74 placed him right at the projected cut line for the final two rounds of play — he was impressed with his first look at Pheasant Glen.

“It’s a great golf course,” said Roxburgh, whose final three holes were played in the rain. “Totally unexpected, a lot different from what I had in mind. (Playing partner) Sandy Harper says it is the most under-rated course on the Island and I tend to agree. It’s a good test of golf.”

Roxburgh was caddied by his wife Lorna, while his son, James Roxburgh, played in the group directly in front of him and finished at 71. The family has turned its visit to the Island into a mini-vacation.

“We’re staying at the Sand Pebbles Inn; it’s a retro little hotel down by the water,” Roxburgh said with a laugh. “We’re going to have some friends coming by to visit this week.”

Roxburgh admits his knee surgery has affected his game, but it certainly hasn’t driven Canada Golf Hall-of-Famer from the course. He is coming off an appearance in the Ogopogo tournament in Kelowna last week, and will play next week in the B.C. Senior Amateur in Blind Bay. After that, it’s off to the U.K. for an appearance in the British Seniors Championship.

“I can’t hurt it any more,” Roxburgh said of his knee. “I saw my surgeon, and he seems satisfied. So I’ll keep going.”

Play continues through Friday, with the final two rounds Thursday and Friday wrapping up shortly after noon. Spectators are welcome.

For tournament scoring updates, click here.

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