Oak Bay’s Victoria Golf Club is the PGA of BC Tournament of Champions’ most decorated facility after capturing a record third title Monday.
Both previous winners of the Tournament of Champions, Head Professional Lindsay Bernakevitch and Victoria club champion Craig Doell combined to post a 9-under-par round of 62 at Whistler’s Nicklaus North Golf Course and won by a single stroke over the Fairview Mountain Golf Club duo of Brian McDonald and Lance Johnston.
The Tournament of Champions, presented by Thunderbolt Sign & VIP Golf, is a team event that sees the head professional from a PGA of BC facility team up with their amateur club champion to compete in an 18-hole best-ball event.
Bernakevitch and Doell were powered by eagles on the par-5 third and eighth holes Monday, carding a score of 30 on Nicklaus North’s front side. The Victoria pair didn’t make a bogey all day and birdied their final hole of the day to close out the 62.
“When the putt when in, I gave a pretty big fist pump,” Bernakevitch said, of the birdie at their last hole, No. 11 at the Whistler course. “I knew it was close. The conditions were so good out here today that you just knew there were going to be lots of great scores. We were 8-under pretty early, but that 9-under-par score really helped.”
Doell previously captured the Tournament of Champions on his home course in 2007 when partnered with Mike Parker. The 62 he and Bernakevitch recorded Monday matched the tournament record, also held by Doell from 2007. The duo’s 9-under total also equalled the event’s record for score relative to par, originally set by Royal Colwood’s Jason Geisbrecht and Kevin Carrigan three years ago.
“To win it now with Lindsay is fantastic,” said Doell, a 15-time club champion at VGC. “You don’t get these opportunities every year, so it’s nice to be able to come out on top and win this event.”
For Bernakevitch, the victory was his second in three years at the Tournament of Champions, having won in 2015 with Erik Swinburnson at Bear Mountain Golf Resort in Langford.
“What a fantastic day, a fantastic place to play golf and I think we had a lot of fun out there today,” said Bernakevitch, who also took home a cheque for $1,000.
The runners-up from Fairview Mountain made a late charge to threaten the lead, as McDonald and Johnston closed their round with four consecutive birdies to shoot 29 on Nicklaus North’s back nine, but ultimately fell one stroke short.
The hosts from Nicklaus North, comprised of Head Professional Andrew Smart and club champion Nick Papoutsis, finished third with a 64.