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Mom’s memory helps Kelowna’s John Mlikotic make his first Mackenzie Tour cut

By Brad Ziemer

On the first anniversary of his Mom’s death, John Mlikotic made his first cut on the Mackenzie Tour.

Mlikotic does not think it was a coincidence. His Mom, Natalia, who passed away after a short battle with cancer on June 14th of last year, was with him every step of the way in Friday’s second round of the GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club. Mlikotic said his Mom’s sudden passing has put things in perspective for him. He loves golf, but knows there are other things much more important.

Those thoughts, he said, helped him make the biggest birdie of his young professional golf life on his 18th hole Friday to make the cut on the number.

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Kelowna junior Cooper Humphreys bounces back from rough start with eight birdies

By Brad Ziemer

Cooper Humphreys, all 14 years of him, didn’t get mad. Instead, he got even with Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club.

The Grade 8 student rebounded from a rocky start that saw him triple-bogey two of the first four holes in the second round of the GolfBC Championship. Humphreys made eight birdies in his round and played the back nine in 30 shots to salvage an even-par 71. Humphreys, who attends Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School in Kelowna, birdied five of his last seven holes.

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Mackenzie Tour pros try to follow in their famous father’s footsteps

By Brad Ziemer

Like father, like son.
For three players at this week’s GolfBC Championship, that phrase rings especially true this Father’s Day weekend.

Jake Byrum, Case Cochran and Dru Love all have dads who won on the PGA Tour. They are all trying to follow in their father’s golfing footsteps and have learned the game is not as easy as their dads made it look.

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First-round leader Jake Knapp has sentimental attachment to Gallagher’s Canyon and GolfBC Championship

By Brad Ziemer

Jake Knapp has always loved the views at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club. They looked even better Thursday when he saw his name atop the leaderboard after the first round of the $200,000 GolfBC Championship.

The 25-year-old from Costa Mesa, Calif., opened the PGA Tour Canada-Mackenzie Tour event with a seven-under 64 that gave him a one-shot lead over Grant Leaver of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Knapp has played in all four GolfBC Championships. In fact, his first one in 2016 was Knapp’s pro debut. He came to Kelowna and successfully Monday qualified his way into the tournament and went on to finish tied for 45th.

“Absolutely, it holds a little sentimental value to me,” Knapp said of Gallagher’s. “My dad came up and caddied for me that event, too. It’s just a great event and it’s one of my favorite venues to come to. It’s one of the most scenic golf courses we play and the city is great. It’s definitely a special event for me.”

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14-year-old Cooper Humphreys talks himself into some birdies

By Brad Ziemer

It was early on his back nine when 14-year-old Cooper Humphreys gave himself a talking to.

“I told myself, get your head into it and start making birdies,” he said after completing his first round in the GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club.

Apparently, the Grade 8 student at Kelowna’s Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School is a good listener. A short time later, he rattled off two straight birdies and opened the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada event with a respectable five-over 76.

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Kelowna’s Keenan Hall wins Long Drive Challenge with 378-yard blast

By Brad Ziemer

Keenan Hall saved the best for last.

Hall was the final competitor in Wednesday’s Long Drive Challenge to officially kick off this week’s GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club. Hall stepped up and blasted his first of three drives 387 yards to overtake the 378-yard bomb that fellow Kelowna resident Josh Coletti had recorded just minutes earlier.

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James Allenby hoping to bounce back at GolfBC Championship

By Brad Ziemer

James Allenby hasn’t exactly crash landed, but he has returned to Planet Earth. The Langley native has played like a mere mortal in his last two starts. After a string of remarkable rounds and finishes, Allenby arrived at Gallagher’s Canyon for this week’s GolfBC Championship coming off two straight missed cuts.

That’s golf. Just when you think you have it figured out, the game comes back and bites you.

After starting the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada season with a tie for second at the Canada Life Open in Vancouver, Allenby missed the cut the following week at the Bayview Place DCBank Open in Victoria. He bounced back from that setback and Monday qualified his way into last week’s RBC Canadian Open, where Allenby played his first PGA Tour event at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. He played well in Hamilton, shooting two straight rounds of even-par 70, but missed the cut by two shots. He was obviously disappointed not to play the weekend, but Allenby called his Canadian Open experience invaluable.

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Lionel Taylor and John Mlikotic feeling right at home at GolfBC Championship

By Brad Ziemer

Lionel Taylor should be easy to spot this week at the GolfBC Championship.
He’ll be the guy pinching himself on the first tee.

The 23-year-old Kelowna native still can’t quite believe he has a spot in the field of the $200,000 PGA Tour Canada-Mackenzie Tour event being played at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club. Taylor fully expected to be at Gallagher’s this week, working in the golf shop. But his plans changed in a big way when he was told Tuesday morning that he was being granted a sponsor’s exemption into the event.

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