For the first time ever, the Nick Taylor Charity Pro-Am teed off in June, but organizers said the new date and the pandemic era didn’t stop the sixth annual event from being a success.
Friday’s tournament, held at Ledgeview Golf Club, is a collaboration between Taylor – the two-time PGA Tour winner from Abbotsford – and the University of the Fraser Valley golf program, which organizes the event with significant support from presenting sponsor Algra Bros. Developments.
The tourney is usually staged in September, at the conclusion of Taylor’s PGA Tour season. But with the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the PGA season and pushing the schedule into the fall, the decision was made just over a month ago to host the event on June 26, before Taylor departs Abbotsford to rejoin the PGA Tour.
Recreational golf has weathered the pandemic better than most sports, due to its outdoor environs and the ease of maintaining physical distance between competitors. Nevertheless, this year’s Taylor tourney was reconfigured to limit COVID-19 risks – none of the traditional large group gatherings like dinners were held, and golfers arrived at Ledgeview for tee times, rather than the usual shotgun start.
Despite the short notice, the event was once again sold out. And while a final fundraising total has not yet been calculated, Chris Bertram of the Cascades golf program confirmed that the tally will be in excess of $100,000. Those funds will be shared between the Cascades golf program and the UFV Food Bank.
Taylor, for his part, was thrilled with the generosity of participants. Notably, the right to play with Taylor for Friday’s round was auctioned off, and the winning bid was $15,000.
“That blew me away,” he said.
“I think it went really well. Of any year, this might be the most important year to host an event because of what’s been going on (with COVID-19). People have been shocked and devastated by this in so many different ways. We want to do anything we can to help out the community, and I know the university is going to match some of the funds raised which is great.”
Taylor had won the tournament three of the previous four years, dating back to when it was known as the UFV Cascades Pro-Am. This year, he settled for third place, with Mission pro Kevin Stinson winning the event for the second time. Stinson, the 2015 champion, carded eight birdies on his way to a six-under 64, edging Jake Scarrow (65) and Taylor (66). UFV golf alumni Brett Stewart and Zach Olson tied for fourth at 67 with Luke Bogdan.
In the team competition, the Valley Waste & Recycling trio of Derek Janzen, Scott Verschuur and Cameron Gemmell emerged victorious. Their score of -20 matched that of Canex (Bryan Devisser, Jon Mackie and John Kuipers); Valley Waste won by retrogression.
Bertram marveled at how quickly the event had come together and thanks locals for participating.
“We’re so grateful to the Fraser Valley community for coming out and supporting the event, and supporting the UFV Food Bank. They’re helping people who are really going through some tough times right now.”
Taylor claimed his second career PGA Tour victory in February at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He returns stateside next week and will rejoin the tour for the Workday Charity Open, July 9-12 in Dublin, Ohio.