Kelowna’s Keith Martin took the B.C. golf world by storm on Tuesday, winning the TaylorMade and Adidas Golf PGA of BC Championship presented by Axis Insurance Group.
The first-year PGA of BC Professional from Kelowna’s Tower Ranch Golf Club shot his second straight three-under-par round of 69 on Tuesday at Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community to earn a come-from-behind victory in the tournament.
Martin overtook first-round leader Brad Clapp (Cultus Lake Golf Club) on the back nine of Tuesday’s final round, finishing at six-under for the 36-hole championship.
Clapp’s final round of 74 left him at four-under for the event, which was good for a runner-up finish at the same venue where he captured his 2012 PGA of BC Championship title. The trio of 2018 winner Kevin Stinson (Cheam Mountain Golf Course), Matthew Steinbach (Simon Fraser University) and Steven MacPherson (Storey Creek Golf Club) finished in a tie for third place at two-under.
“This is by far the biggest event I’ve ever won,” said Martin.
“It’s amazing. I didn’t think this would happen this week. I was just hoping for a nice, solid finish. I hit the ball so well both days and made some good putts. It was a lot of fun out there.”
With the victory, Martin earned the winner’s share of $6,300 from the event’s $35,000 purse, a championship ring courtesy of title sponsors TaylorMade and Adidas Golf, while his name will be etched on the PGA of BC’s William Thompson Trophy.
After taking most of the 2019 season off from tournament golf, the 31-year-old joined the PGA of Canada in March with the hope of competing more regularly. This week’s tournament was just his first start in a PGA of BC individual stroke-play championship, having made his debut at last month’s Pro-Assistant Championship.
“This was my first year where I wanted to play a lot more tournaments again,” said Martin. “To have success like this is really cool. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Martin started the day trailing Clapp by three strokes but started chipping away at the lead with two birdies early on.
“After the first four holes, I felt like I had the momentum on my side and I was playing well,” said Martin. “I made a great putt on the first hole from about 12 feet, and I hit a really great shot on number four, the par-three, and made another birdie there to get to one down.”
Another birdie at the long par-three 12th hole gave Martin a lead that he would never relinquish. He again birdied the par-three 16th hole as part of a bogey-free back nine to sew up the victory.
Having played a few events at Crown Isle in the past, including a couple of Mackenzie Tour Q-School tournaments, Martin said his experience there was a big help over the two rounds.
“I felt a lot more comfortable than I have at most tournaments where you’re playing at an ‘away’ golf course,” said Martin. “I have about 20 rounds here, so I felt comfortable picking clubs off the tee and reading greens.”