By Brad Ziemer

KELOWNA — It was as close to a perfect round of golf Noah Goodwin has ever experienced and the 22-year-old Texan was determined to savour it.

“Days like today, they don’t happen often and I am waiting to wake up,” Goodwin said after firing a 10-under 61 in Friday’s second round of the GolfBC Championship. “It was just one of those rounds of golf where just about everything was perfect.”

Goodwin wasn’t just talking about his golf. The weather during his morning round was sublime and Goodwin has fallen head over heels in love with Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club and what he called its ‘vibe.’

“I have been telling my caddie ever since we got here this week the vibes here are immaculate,” Goodwin said. “I love the views, I love the nature. We got to see some deer on the golf course today. Everything is just keeping me calm, keeping me relaxed. I mean you can’t be upset looking at these views on the golf course all day. So I feel really great vibes and just want to keep it going on the weekend.”

Goodwin’s 61 left him at 14-under par at the halfway point of the $200,000 PGA Tour Canada event. He has a one-shot lead on Cole Madey of Portland, Ore., and James Hervol of Pittsburgh.

Goodwin is in his rookie season as a pro and had an accomplished amateur and collegiate career. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2017, a year after losing in the championship final. He went on to attend Southern Methodist University in his home state of Texas.

His round Friday was highlighted by back-to-back eagles on the 11th and 12th holes.

“On 11, I hit the exact shot I wanted to, got a real aggressive kick and it just rolled in, so that was fantastic. And then on 12 I got a real fortunate bounce. I kind of overcut it and it bounced off the bunkers to about seven feet and I rolled that one in. And then I flagged it on the next hole and made birdie.”

That birdie on No. 13 put Goodwin nine-under for the day. That is when he started thinking about a 59. 

“At that point I was just like we might as well just keep going for it and try to shoot 59,” he said. “I just kept giving myself looks.”

He birdied No. 15 and then just missed good looks for birdie on the next two holes.

“(Holes) 16 and 17 are going to haunt me a little bit. I left both putts about two inches short right in the heart so that is going to sting. And then I lipped out my chip on 18. It was a great day and I was hitting good golf shots all day.” 

One of the amazing things about Goodwin’s round is that he didn’t birdie the two easiest holes on the course — the sixth and ninth holes, which are both par 5s.

“That was a little frustrating. I felt like I played those two holes well. I hit two pure approach shots and thought I hit two good pitch shots, but just didn’t get the bounces I thought I would.”

Georgian Dalton Ward had already posted a 61 of his own Friday moments before Goodwin completed his round. Ward holed a 120-yard wedge for eagle on the par 4 second hole and then made four straight birdies before adding a birdie on the ninth hole to make the turn in 29 strokes.

The only blemish on his card, which included nine birdies and an an eagle, was a bogey on the par 3 16th hole.

“My ball striking was just really good today,” Ward said. “Yesterday I didn’t strike it nearly as well and I got a little work in on the range last night and figured a few things out and just struck it really well today. I hit a lot of shots close.
Ward sits at 11-under and is tied for fourth with three other players.

Madey, who played the PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit earlier this year, was a Monday qualifier into the GolfBC Championship and is making his first PGA Tour Canada start. He fired a six-under 65 Friday to sit at 13-under.

“I like being here, I have a lot of friends in Canada so it feels awesome to just get out here in my first event,” said Madey, who knows he’ll need to make a bunch more birdies on the weekend.

“It is going to be the mid-20s, for sure,” he said of the likely winning score.

Hervol fired an eight-under 63 late in the day to finish the day at 13-under, tied with Madey for second. He did not have a bogey on his card.

“In the middle of the round I made three nice up and downs,” he said. “They kept the momentum going and put me in the good mindset for the rest of the round.”

Max Sekulic, the 2021 Canadian Amateur champion from Rycroft, Alta. is the top Canadian. He is tied for eighth at 10-under.

British Columbians who made the cut, which fell at four-under par, include Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald (T21 7-under) Jared du Toit of Kimberley (T31, 6-under), Chris Crisologo of Richmond (T44 5-under) and Vancouver’s Ilirian Zalli (T54, 4-under).