A clutch back nine paid off in a big way Tuesday for the Fairview Mountain Golf Club duo of Brian McDonald and Rob Tadey, who captured their second title since 2017 in the G&G Golf Company & Callaway Golf PGA of BC Pro-Assistant Championship at The Okanagan Golf Club.
McDonald and Tadey combined for a 12-under-par 60 on the Quail Course in the final round of the team event, reaching 18-under overall to secure a two-stroke victory over the Northview Golf & Country Club team of Greg Pool and Quinn Vilneff, who led after Monday’s opening round. Ryan Tofani and Connor O’Dell (Chilliwack Golf Club) placed third at 15-under.
“This feels special,” said McDonald, Executive Professional at Fairview Mountain. “It was a grind of a win and it was awesome.”
The Pro-Assistant Championship is an annual favourite team event in which PGA of BC Club Professionals (Head, Executive or Head Teaching Professionals) join forces with another PGA member from their facility to compete against their peers over 36 holes. This year’s event featured 29 teams from across the province vying for a purse of nearly $13,000.
McDonald and Tadey were winners on their home course in 2017 and set the tournament’s scoring record with that triumph, but this year’s path to the title was a bit tougher. Pool and Vilneff held a one-stroke lead over four teams, including the Fairview Mountain duo, following Monday’s best-ball round on the Bear Course, making for a crowded leaderboard down the stretch Tuesday.
McDonald and Tadey pulled out of a deadlock at 16-under with Pool and Vilneff when Tadey drained a 15-foot birdie on the par-5 17th, and followed it up by making another birdie on the 18th to finish things off.
“When we see the line, we’re both confident we can make any putt, and luckily on 17 we had a downhill slider that was very similar to home,” said Tadey. “On the last hole, Mac hit a great shot in and we were able to make it.”
The hot finish came after McDonald gave his team a surge of momentum on the short par-4 14th, as his tee shot rolled to three feet for a tap-in eagle.
“I think for us, that was the turning point for the tournament,” said McDonald, who splits the top prize of $2,500 with Tadey. The twosome became just the fourth team to win multiple Pro-Assistant titles since the tournament’s debut in 1993.
“We push each other to be better,” McDonald said of what makes their partnership work. “I think that pays off because we’re both super competitive and we want to outshine each other on the same team. I think we just feed off each other’s competitiveness”
Pool and Vilneff were playing their first Pro-Assistant together this week, as both are new to their roles as Head and Apprentice Professional, respectively, at Northview. Pool was eager to claim his first PGA of BC championship title but tipped his cap to the winners after battling with them in the same pairing Tuesday.
“I was telling Quinn going down 18 that it was fun to be in the heat of a provincial championship,” said Pool. “(McDonald and Tadey) biridied 17 and 18 and they earned it. I don’t know what was better, their putts coming down the stretch or Mac’s one-liners.”
Meanwhile, Tofani and O’Dell were both making their first appearance in a PGA of BC tournament and came away from the event pleased by their performance.
“We can’t complain about third place,” said Tofani. “It was fantastic … and we’ll be back next year, for sure.”
Three teams shared fourth place at 14-under, including defending champions Alec Hubert and Ian Henson (Kamloops Golf & Country Club) and 2019 runners-up Rob Anderson and Jamie Stevens (Kelowna Golf & Country Club). Lindsay Bernakevitch and Mark Bicknell carded a 10-under 62 on Tuesday to also reach 14-under.
CLICK HERE to view final results.
The Pro-Assistant Championship marked the PGA of BC’s first tournament of the season due to earlier events being cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. The event was also played with a number of precautions in place to safeguard competitors, as well as staff and patrons at The Okanagan Golf Club.
Considering the lengthy layoff from Association tournaments, competitors were thrilled with the opportunity for some respite from what has been an unusual golf season.
“It was great to get out and compete. I definitely know (McDonald and I) were missing that,” said Tadey. “It was a great tournament and we’re just happy to be here competing.”