Standing over his second shot, in the trees on the par 5 18th hole at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, former UBC Okanagan golfer Cody Bell of Salmon Arm knew he had to do something special.
He was down a shot on the closing hole of this year’s Kelowna Golf and Country Club’s Men’s Open with leader John Mlikotic already sitting near the green after his second shot.
So Bell, 22, pulled out his six iron and, from 185 yards, hit one of the best shots of his young life, a low, running hook that seemed impossible but ended nearly perfect.
“I had to go for it,” said Bell. “I had to hook it about 50 yards to get it near the green. It came out so perfectly and started turning really hard. I heard the crowd roar up by the green. I didn’t know where it was.”
His ball ended up about 15 feet from the green and after Mlikotic settled for par, Bell made his birdie, sending the tournament to a playoff where Bell would win it with a birdie on the par 3 15th.
But after the event, everyone was talking about Bell’s escape from the trees on 18 and the birdie that forced the extra hole.
“That’s definitely one I will remember for a long time,” said Bell. “I have hit shots like that before but not in a situation like this. To pull it off when you really need it was something special. It was definitely one of more memorable shots.”
Mlikotic, 21, a member of Kelowna Golf and Country Club, said it was a great tournament and a fun playoff and credited Bell for the great shot.
“From my viewpoint I didn’t think he had a shot to advance it to the green but he put an unbelievable swing on it and it came out perfect,” said Mlikotic. “That’s my home course and I’ve played in those trees before. It’s not easy from there. You have to give it to him. It was an unbelievable shot.”
The showdown between Bell and Mlikotic featured two of the areas top young male golfers. Bell is coming off a four year career at UBCO while Mlikotic is heading back to Simon Fraser University this fall where he will captain the SFU men’s golf team in NCAA Div. II play.
An employee at Canoe Creek in Salmon Arm, Bell plans to head south this winter to continue playing golf as well as looking to find work in the golf industry. Mlikotic will play in the Bellingham amateur championships on the labour day weekend before returning to school for his final year of golf eligibility.
Other results from the men’s open included Norm Bradley of the Kelowna Golf and Country Club finishing two shots back of the leaders with a five-under-par total while Dan Pilon of the Kelowna Golf and Country Club and Ryan Mulhern of Point Grey finished at four-under-par. Greg Forbes of Black Mountain Golf Club finished at three under, Gudmund Lindbjerg out of Pitt Meadows and William Deck finished at two under par and rounding out the under par players for the tournament were Brett Moore of Black Mountain and Tyler Pitt of Gallagher’s Canyon with one under scores.
The Overall Low Net winner of the tournament was Kelowna Golf and Country Club’s Dan Pilon who narrowly edged out Hans Berger also of the KGCC by one shot.
Up next at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club is the annual ladies’ open set for Aug. 23 and 24.