Bryce Barker from the Vernon Golf and Country Club won the pro division at the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Meadow Gardens Open, presented by Lordco Auto Parts, in Pitt Meadows July 17-18. (VGT photo)

Bryce Barker from the Vernon Golf and Country Club won the pro division at the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Meadow Gardens Open, presented by Lordco Auto Parts, in Pitt Meadows July 17-18. (VGT photo)

First career pro victory for Vernon golfer

Bryce Barker of Vernon Golf and Country Club shoots 10-under-par to win Vancouver Golf Tour event in Pitt Meadows

Throughout the week ahead, Bryce Barker had wanted to avoid the Vancouver Golf Tour’s (VGT) Meadow Gardens Open presented by Lordco Auto Parts in Pitt Meadows.

The Vernon Golf and Country Club member and employee had worked all week and was still thinking about playing in the final group the weekend before at the VGT’s Chilliwack Men’s Open only to shoot a final round 74 and finish tied for ninth. Maybe it was time to take a break from golf for a weekend, or not drive through wildfire smoke to get to a tourney.

And then there was the cycling accident. Biking to work Thursday, Barker arrived at the Vernon course and his bike slid out from under him as he went to stop, sending him crashing to the pavement.

With his entry fee for the tournament non-refundable, Barker put aside his two wheels, got into a vehicle with four wheels, and headed to Pitt Meadows. He shot rounds of 66 and 68 at Meadow Gardens Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18, for a total of 10-under-par 134, good for a four-stroke win in the pro division over Kevin Stinson of Cheam Mountain Golf Course in Chilliwack, Barker’s first-ever tour victory.

“It was a funny week as I was trying to get out of it (the tournament),” chuckled Barker, 28, who collected a cheque for $3,250, and 3,000 tour points. He’s played the tour the last couple of years as he focuses on playing professionally.

“I had a really good first day, was bogey-free, and made a lot of putts. On the second day, I stayed out of trouble, only had two bogeys on 15 and 16 but made over 100 feet of putts. I was happy to keep it together and stay with my game. I got a lot of support after the first round with texts and messages from family and friends.”

The VGT is in its 15th year of operation. It gives B.C.’s local pro and amateur golfers the chance to develop tournament skills in a PGA Tour-like environment. Barker was second overall in Pitt Meadows, three behind the tournament winner, amateur golfer Ryan Stolys of the home club, who shot rounds of 63-68 to beat Barker by three shots.

With the victory, Barker also earned a spot in the Great Lake Tour’s Sani-Marc/Desjardins Canada Cup tournament Aug. 12-15 at the Victoriaville Golf Club in Victoriaville, Que.

“It’s a four-day tournament, televised out there, and the total purse is $125,000,” said an excited Barker. “The win also means my flight is paid for.”

Barker will return to Pitt Meadows for the Golden Ears Open Saturday and Sunday. In his last five tour events, Barker has the victory and three top-10 finishes.

Troy Bulmer of Predator Ridge finished in a four-way tie for the seventh spot at the Meadow Gardens Open, pocketing $687.50 and 280 tour points. Bulmer shot rounds of 67 and 73 to finish at 4-under 140.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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