BY BRAD ZIEMER
KELOWNA — Cody Blick has spent considerable time knocking on the door and figures this week would be as good a time as any to bust right through it.
Blick enters this week’s GolfBC Championship fifth on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada money list after two solid starts to the new season.
The 24-year-old third year pro from San Ramon, Calif., tied for second at the season-opening Freedom 55 Financial Open in Vancouver and tied for 14th at last week’s Bayview Place DC Bank Open in Victoria.
So he is playing well. Combine that with the fact he has some good memories from last year at Gallagher’s Canyon and it’s not a stretch to consider him one of the favourites this week.
Blick tied for second at last year’s GolfBC Championship, finishing one shot behind winner Robby Shelton. Blick thought he was headed for a playoff until Shelton made a semi-miraculous up-and-down birdie out of the deep rough on the 18th hole to earn the win.
“He made that putt on the last hole,” Blick said with a laugh before his practice round Wednesday. “A birdie from out of the weeds on 18 to win. You are never rooting against somebody but . . .”
Blick has had other close calls on the Mackenzie Tour. Last year, in addition to his tie for second at Gallagher’s, Blick tied for third in Victoria and had two other top 10s.
“It’s one of those things where I just keep telling myself the more I put myself in contention it’s going to happen at some point,” Blick said. “I feel pretty good about my game right now and I just love it here. It’s just so nice out here. I feel comfortable.”
Like many of the players in this week’s field, Blick will become close friends with his 2-iron this week. He thinks he will only hit three or four drivers each day, forsaking length for accuracy and keeping the ball between the tree lines at Gallagher’s Canyon.
“I think this is probably the most strategic course we play all year in the sense that we could hit driver, but it just doesn’t make sense on most holes,” Blick said. “The last two events were sort of like that, but I was still hitting driver everywhere. But this week I think I am only going to hit three, maybe four, drivers.”
Blick is trying not to put any extra pressure on himself to get that elusive first win on the Mackenzie Tour.
“I think it is just one of those things where you get a fresh start every week,” he said. “Vancouver was close, Victoria was whatever, but it’s just a new start and I am comfortable with all the shots out here. We are going to play the course four times and if it happens, it happens.”
Vancouver’s Ryan Williams is another player with some good Gallagher’s Canyon memories to draw upon. Williams finished solo second behind Dan McCarthy in the inaugural GolfBC Championship in 2016. Williams shot 18-under that year and lost by seven shots to McCarthy, who went on to win four times that year and rewrite the Mackenzie Tour record books.
“It definitely suits my eye,” Williams said on the driving range Wednesday. “I enjoy being up here, lots of friends and family are around, so it is a fun week that way. I seem to putt these greens really well. So obviously that is a big bonus out here if you can do that.”
Williams made the cut in both the Vancouver and Victoria events, but wasn’t pleased with his game.
“I feel great now,” he said. “Being a bit of an older guy (he’s 37), I drove back from Arizona a few days before the start of the Vancouver tournament and the body wasn’t working very well the first two weeks. But I took a couple of days off after Victoria and got some treatment, so I am actually feeling pretty good right now. And I like this course, so it should be a good week.”
Like Blick, Williams will use his driver only sparingly this week.
“The big thing for me is to get the ball in the fairways and then you just have to be on the right levels, the right quadrants, of these greens because they are big and quite undulated,” he said. “You just have to make sure you are putting from the right spots so you can be aggressive with the putter. Otherwise you are playing defence a lot out here.”