Bryn Parry continued his excellent season Thursday by grabbing the first-round lead in the TaylorMade & adidas Golf PGA of BC Championship presented by Axis Insurance Managers at Capilano Golf & Country Club.
Parry carded a 3-under-par round of 69 to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Point Grey Golf & Country Club Professional Clark MacPherson into Friday’s final round.
But there will be plenty more players in the mix for the William Thompson Trohpy over the final 18 holes, with four other competitors finishing at par or better on a breezy day at the renowned West Vancouver course and many others staying within reach of the lead.
Parry, 45, got off to a hot start with four birdies in his first six holes and added another at the difficult par-3 16th en route to the best score among all 99 players in the field.
“It’s Augusta for Vancouver. It’s perfect,” Parry said of the golf course, which is hosting its first PGA of BC event since 2009. “It’ll give you opportunities if you hit good shots… but if you’re out of position, you’ve got almost no chance to get back. So you’ve got to be deliberate and careful where you put the ball, otherwise you can’t fix it.”
A three-time winner of this event, Parry has put himself in good position to earn a fourth title, which would tie him with Scott Minni for the most PGA of BC Championship victories in the modern era. A triumph on Friday would add to a 2017 campaign in which he’s won the PGA of BC Assistants’ Championship, earned a runner-up finish in the PGA Championship of Canada and put on an impressive performance at the RBC Canadian Open after earning an exemption as the PGA of Canada’s No. 1-ranked player.
“There’s a lot of great players out there… but I’m happy with what I did,” said Parry.
MacPherson’s round featured six birdies despite the 31-year-old taking a conservative approach for most of the day, both off the tee and on Capilano’s speedy greens.
“I think it’s a course where disaster is lurking on the greens at all times. If you leave it above the hole, you could have five feet for birdie but eight or nine feet coming back for par,” said MacPherson.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. This is the third year in a row that I’ve played well in the first round and I’m hoping to actually put together a good second round and be in the mix. It should be fun.”
Two players posted a 1-under 71 on Thursday – Ethan Danish (Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy), Dave Zibrik (Point Grey Golf & Country Club) – to stay two shots off the pace. Matt Makinson (Eaglequest Golf Centre at Coyote Creek) sits alone in fifth place at even-par.
“Other than (three bogeys on the back nine), it was pretty solid,” said Danish, 29, who will join Parry and MacPherson in the final group for Round 2. “I can’t really change too much (for Friday,) you can’t really attack anything overly regardless of where you’re at on the leaderboard.”
Although there are several talented Professionals among the leaders heading into Friday, there are many more hanging around who could be a factor in the final round, as a total of 21 players are sitting within five strokes of the lead. The winner will collect a cheque for $6,300 from a total prize purse of nearly $35,000.
The low female competitor in the event will be crowned as the 2017 PGA of BC Women’s Champion, and a tight battle is shaping up for the trophy. Jennifer Greggain (Chilliwack Golf Club) shot 76 on Thursday and holds a one-stroke lead over Stephanie Wong (Point Grey Golf & Country Club).