Posted on 19 September 2012 by Keith Lacey
Drew Bolokoski had zero expectations heading into the Canadian Desert Invitational Pro-Am tournament.
Because he had played so little competitive golf over the past several months, the head professional at the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club didn’t think he had any chance of playing solid golf against a strong field of 20 head professionals from across the province.
Bolokoski, who has been teaching professionally for 14 years, appeared genuinely shocked, but very happy, when he captured the tournament, edging out Osoyoos Golf and Country Club assistant head pro and good friend Andrew Goncalves by a single stroke.
Bolokoski, who finished the two-day, 36-hole tournament with a final score of 139, shot 69 on opening day on the Desert Park layout, before wrapping things up with a 70 on Friday on the Park Meadows course.
This was the first time in his professional career that he has finished first in a tournament against fellow professionals. To play so well and do it on his home course is something he’s not going to forget any time soon, said Bolokoski.
“I haven’t been playing at all, so my only goal was to go out and play some golf, have some fun and see what happens,” he said. “I can’t actually believe how well I played, considering I’ve been so busy here at the course and haven’t had any time to play competitively.”
The Pro-Am tournament features a format where one professional plays with four amateurs. The professionals play their own ball over two days, while the other four members play a four-person scramble.
Being with a “great group of people” made up of Deb Charlton, Bryan Bolokoski, Dave Boden and Brian Petreny, made him relax, which helped him play such solid golf during both rounds, he said.
“I was having a blast out there and it really helped my game,” he said.
Knowing he was in contention to win his first tournament and claim the $1,500 winner’s cheque made things rather difficult down the stretch, said Bolokoski.
“I didn’t know if I was in the lead or not, but I did think I was in contention and that made things a little dicey down the stretch,” he said. “I bogeyed two of the final three holes and I thought that might cost me the tournament, but thankfully I had a big enough lead to hang on and edge Andrew by one stroke.
“I definitely was nervous as I only had one bogey all day until the final three holes … then I tightened up a bit, but thankfully it was enough to get the win.”
Being able to play such solid golf on his home course and claiming his first professional victory is something he will cherish for a long time, said Bolokoski.
“Being able to do this on my home course is something I never thought would happen,” he said. “There were a lot of very good pros here and, like I said, I hadn’t been playing much at all, so I had no intentions of being in contention at all. To get my first pro win here at home is something very special for sure.”
Bolokoski said winning his first tournament has only one downfall.
“I’ve got to go upstairs and buy a few beers for some of the guys,” he said smiling.
Bolokoski finished the tournament with eight birdies and only four bogeys.
Goncalves claimed a $1,000 cheque for finishing in second place.
Rob Tadey, who works at Fairview Mountain Golf Course, finished in third place with a final score of 141, which earned him a cheque for $700.
Stephen Connor, who works at Tobiano Golf Course in Kamloops and Aaron Moody, a professional at Swan-e-Set Bay Resort in Pitt Meadows, tied for fourth with scores of 142. They each took home $450.
Dean Claggett, Ryan Street and Keith Vandenbrink tied for sixth with scores of 143. They each won $185.