Okanagan Golf Club assistant pro Conner Kozak will play in the GolfBC Championship at Gallager’s Canyon for the second time. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Second chance for Kozak at GolfBC Championship

Okanagan Golf Club assistant pro will play on an exemption at next week’s Mackenzie Tour event

In 2016, Conner Kozak missed the cut in his debut at the GolfBC Championship.

Two years later, with some confidence and experience under his belt, the 25-year-old Kelowna golfer will have considerably higher expectations for next week’s tournament at Gallagher’s Canyon.

An assistant pro at the Okanagan Golf Club, Kozak is one of three local golfers to earn an exemption for the third stop of the season on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada.

“If you tilted the leader board upside down, you’d see my name,” the Vernon-born Kozak said with a laugh, making light of his performance two years ago. “It wasn’t that great of a week, I didn’t quite have as good of an opportunity to prepare myself for the event that year, being that it was my first year working at the Okanagan Club, it was a very busy time for me.”

In addition to having had more and better quality preparation time this spring, Kozak is fresh off a solid effort at the BCPGA Assistants Championship last weekend at Bear Mountain. Kozak’s two-round total of 2-under par (73-67) 150, was good for a tie for third place.

“This year, the game looks really good, really sharp, so I’m hoping to finish a little bit better than I did that first year,” said Kozak, a former member of the UBC Thunderbirds’ program. “The goal is to play all four rounds, see how it goes.”

Kozak is grateful to be getting a second chance to play on the Mackenzie Tour, a launching pad for players looking to make their way on to the Web.com Tour and, eventually, the PGA Tour.

RELATED: Kelowna marks breakthrough for Robby Shelton

The Mackenzie Tour has helped produce PGA champs such as Canadians Adam Hadwin and Mackenzie Hughes, Tony Finau and Aaron Wise.

“It’s really cool,” Kozak said. “I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s the ultimate measuring stick, it’s probably the biggest event I’ll play all year, no doubt about that.

“To be out here on a tour where those guys have come up and to see what they’ve done from that and the success they’ve had on this tour, is pretty cool.”

For Kozak, playing at home in a familiar environment comes with both benefits and expectations.

“It’ll be nice to sleep in my own bed, hopefully get a couple of buddies to come out and watch,” said Kozak. “There’s definitely going to be a little bit of pressure along with that..it’s just about kind of enjoying the week, having fun, that’s probably the biggest thing.

“The fact I get to have a home tournament is going to be a good opportunity for me to showcase my game, and hopefully play well.”

Among other players to earn exemptions for the Golf BC Championship is Kelowna’s Garrett Kucher, last year’s winner of the Ogopogo Invitational at the Kelowna Golf and Country.

The winner of the Zone 2 Junior Tour’s Order of Merit—to be determined this weekend at Gallagher’s—will also receive an exemption. Last year, that honour went to Matt Hopley, the son of Gallagher’s Canyon general manager Peter Hopley.

RELATED: Kelowna teen tees it up with the pros

The GolfBC Championship, from June 14 to 17, will feature a 156-player field and a $200,000 purse, with $36,000 going to the winner.

For tournament or ticket information, go to golfbcchampionship.com.

Long drive competition…

The GolfBC Championship’s Long Drive Challenge is set for next Wednesday, June 13 at 3:30 p.m.

The annual charity event, which benefits the BC Cancer Foundation, is open to anyone who can hit the ball a long distance off the tee.

The cost is $25 for three shots and includes Adidas Golf Prizes.

To register, go to golfbcchampionship.com.

Just Posted

Preliminary inquiry being held for West Kelowna man charged in wife’s murder

Man charged in the killing of his wife is in court this week for a preliminary inquiry.

Kelowna a top Canadian city when it comes to moves

U-Haul ranks city 19th on its list of top 20 spots for DIY movers

SunRype puts stamp on Okanagan Marathon

The Kelowna-based company takes over title sponsorship of the annual October run and festival

Penticton man dies in Lavington train incident

Sunday afternoon incident claims 25 year old

Hot weather to hit the valley

Environment Canada issues a special weather statement.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Aboriginal leaders say federal government needs to pitch in too

Okanagan residents getting locked up for B.C. SPCA

SPCA events taking place around the Okanagan raises funds for abused and homeless animals

Falcons rally for win in Wenatchee

Kelowna scores four in the ninth inning to earn West Coast League victory over Apple Sox Sunday

Car crashes into City Park

A vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed crashed into a Kelowna park Sunday night

Morning balloon landing at mall

A hot air balloon landed in the parking lot of the mall in Kelowna

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades

Over 30 years the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Most Read