Some lack of commitment down the stretch may have cost him the overall title, but steady play still earned Nanoose Bay’s Stephen Watson a spot on Team BC and top honours in the Master-40s division at the BC Mid-Amateur last week.
In the mix June 7-9 at Storey Creek Golf Club in Campbell River against a strong field of golfers from all over B.C., Watson, 44, finished third overall with a 4-under-par 212 and grabbed the hardware for winning the Master-40s division.
There were 79 entries in all at the big annual provincial qualifying tournament, with about 40 of those 40 or over.
“It was good — there were around 20 really good players who have won some significant amateur events, provincial championships, national events … it was a strong field,” Watson confirmed when The News caught up with him, pointing out it included the likes of Craig Doell, one of the top amateur golfers in B.C.
Victoria’s Cory Renfrew fired a 4-under-par 68 to come from behind and capture the BC Mid-Amateur Men’s title. Renfrew, 25, carded four birdies on the day, including the winner on 18, to finish top of the heap with a tournament best 7-under-par 209.
Brent Wilson of Gorge Vale Golf Club, who also posted a final-round 68, finished one stroke back in second with a 6-under 210.
“Beginning the (final) day I thought I’d have to shoot in the 60’s in order to have a chance at the overall championship,” said Watson, a plus-one handicap. “On 17 I was one shot back, and since I knew I had the Master-40 sewn up, I thought I’d go for it. I was in-between clubs and didn’t hit it solid and ended up with a double bogey. I made some bad choices today, but managed to recover with a birdie on 18 to end up with a 70 which I’m pleased with.”
Defending Champion Greg Koster, who led both the first and seconds rounds, faltered on the final day and finished the tournament at 3-under 213.
The finish earned Watson a spot on Team BC along with Renfrew and Wilson. The three will represent B.C. at the Canadian Mid-Amateur’s Interprovincial Team Championships slated for Sept. 5 to 9 at the Coppinwood Golf Club in Uxbridge, ON.
“This is my first time representing BC (at the Canadians) as an old guy,” said Watson. “It feels good. It kind of reminds me back of the old days as a junior.”
Raised in Qualicum Beach, Watson’s parents still live a couple blocks from Memorial Golf Course.
“I learned how to play on the Qualicum course; I basically lived on the course in the summer when I was a kid,” he said.