Despite being only 50, Hillview’s Keith Vandenbrink is hearing it from friends about all the dandy discounts seniors get at places like Denny’s, Tim Hortons and Safeway.
Vandenbrink got the last laugh Tuesday when he pocketed $1,200 for second place in the PGA of B.C. Seniors’ Kwikfit4u Championships at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.
With a proven reputation as a money player, Vandenbrink opened the 36-hole event with a 66 and held a three-stroke lead over 2011 champion Murray Poje of Tssawwasen going into the second round.
Poje, a former PGA Tour player, carded a 70 to claim a one-stroke victory over Vandenbrink, who went 74. Poje earned $1,750 in a field of 13 pros.
“It was just nerves,” said Vandenbrink. “I didn’t sleep well and I can’t believe how nervous I was Tuesday. I missed a two-footer on the first hole, then I went OB (out of bounds) on two and then I three-putted No. 3. So I was four-over after three and I was going, ‘Holy Mackerel, do you even know how to golf?’”
The towering Vandenbrink made a strong run on the back nine, with birdies on 10 and 11 and an eagle on 15, hitting driver and six-iron to within a foot of the cup. He was behind by two on the 18th hole so whacked a driver to within 50 yards of the hole, while Poje played it safe with an iron off the tee. Vandenbrink birdied 18 and Poje sank a clutch four-foot putt for the victory before a small gallery.
“We played from the whites because we’re seniors so it was pretty much a short-game competition,” said Vandenbrink, who plays the Two Eagles Open in West Kelowna this weekend.
Former PGA Tour member Norm Jarvis of Surrey and Mark Forrest of Victoria shared third place at 145, collecting $725. Doug Herron of Salmon Arm was fifth at 73-74-147 for $450.
Fifth-place Alan Kristmanson of Whistler recorded a hole in one on the fifth hole on day two of the tournament, the second of his career.
Brad Clapp of Chilliwack finished the FlightScope/Cobra PUMA Golf Assistants’ Championship with an astonishing 17-under 127 (63-64), breaking the 18-year competitive course record 63 two days straight.
Clapp, who bagged $3,000, won by nine strokes over defending champion Bryn Parry of Seymour Creek Golf Centre in Vancouver (68-68-136). There was a field of 54 in the $16,500 event.
Justin Baillargeon of Vernon finished in a seven-way share of 10th place, at 73-72-145, good for $425.
Two consistent rounds gave Ashley Zibrik (neé Hogg) from Shaughnessy (74-78-152) the Women’s title. Zibrik bested Tara Roden (Gallagher’s Canyon) and Sheilla Cowan (Eaglequest, Coquitlam) by 11 strokes for $500. There was a field of five.