GolfBC Group and VMC Sports & Entertainment Corp. are pleased to announce the names of eight golfers who have received sponsor exemptions into the inaugural GolfBC Championship, June 6-12, 2016 at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club.
The first sponsor exemption was announced in February as Summerland’s Greg Machtaler, a former Mackenzie Tour winner at the 2014 National Capital Open to Support Our Troops. Machtaler also has professional wins at the PGA of BC Championship, two other PGA of BC titles and the PGA of Canada’s 2013 Canada Cup.
Two Mackenzie Tour members earned exemption spots in the GolfBC Championship. Chase Koepka, brother of PGA TOUR player Brooks Koepka and 2016 semi-finalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award, was a third-team NCAA All American in 2015. David Rose won the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica America Q School in January, and will continue on that tour starting in September.
Two young golfers at the starts of their professional golf careers have also received exemptions. Jacqueline Bendrick, a young star from Mercer Island, Wash. will be the only female competitor in the GolfBC Championship. During the 2015-16 golf season, Jacqueline contributed to three tournament wins with Furman University’s golf team, as well as qualifying for a spot in the NCAA National Championship in Eugene, Oregon. She won the Johnson and Wales Junior Classic and also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
Bendrick is the first female to compete in a Mackenzie Tour event in the PGA TOUR era, and the first overall since Izzy Beisiegel in 2011.
Lorens Chan, a recent UCLA graduate, played in his first PGA TOUR event in 2009 as an amateur after receiving a sponsor’s exemption into the Sony Hawaiian Open, followed by an invitation from Fu Bon Financial to play in their 2011 Fubon Senior Open. His college career is highlighted by consecutive honors on the Pac 12 second team in 2014 and 2015, as well as earning GCAA Honorable Mention All American Honors in 2014 and GCAA All American Scholar team in 2015.
A GolfBC golf professional received one exemption spot, which after a qualifier on May 31st, was awarded to the winner, Conner Kozak. Conner, a golf professional at The Okanagan Golf Club, won the qualifier with a notable 4-under par, after a one-hole playoff. Vernon-raised, Conner recently turned professional after a collegiate career at the University of British Columbia, where he and his teammates won several NAIA events, including an impressive win at the 2015 Golf Canada College/University Championship.
Two team members from Gallagher’s Canyon, the host facility, have earned the final two exemption spots. John Mlikotic, Gallagher’s Canyon golf professional and a Kelowna native, is a recent Simon Fraser University golf team alumni with impressive tournament results including 2015 Ogopogo Invitational champion, two-time Zone 2 Men’s Championship winner (2014/2015), two top-3 finishes at NCAA GNAC Conference Championships (2013/2015), and two NCAA Div II top-2 finishes at the 2014 Golfweek Invitational and 2015 Cal Baptist Invitational. Chris Trunzer, director of instruction and a member of PGA of Germany, has had a successful PGA career before turning his focus to Junior coaching and mentoring in the Okanagan Valley. Some career highlights include 2009 PGA of Germany Champion, T4 at Syncrude Open (Mackenzie Tour), a Pro Golf Tour win (formerly known as EPD Tour), a silver medal with team Germany, including teammate Martin Kaymer, at the Amateur European Team Championship and competed 2 European Tour Events.
The 8 players earning exemptions into the $175,000 GolfBC Championship will have the opportunity to compete alongside some of the best young professionals and rising talents in Canadian and international golf when Gallagher’s Canyon becomes home to some of the finest golf competition in the country.