VANCOUVER - His last competitive round was a 79 at Fraserview during the final round of the Vancouver Open during the Labour Day weekend and James Lepp spent Tuesday attending a trade show in Edmonton.
But the 28-year-old Abbotsford native, once considered this country’s brightest professional golf prospect, is heading back to PGA Tour qualifying school next week.
Lepp’s last Q-school appearance was way back in 2007 and after failing to get through he devoted all his energies into starting his shoe company, Kikkor Golf.
But Lepp began to get enthusiastic about golf again this spring and his appearance on Golf Channel’s current Big Break series helped further rekindle his interest in the game.
He’ll tackle first stage of Q school next week at San Juan Oaks in Northern California. The former NCAA champion admitted Tuesday he doesn’t quite know what to expect.
“I don’t think I’ll be nervous and I don’t know that you can get excited about Q school,” he said. “I’m more curious to see how I play because I really don’t know. I felt good going into the (Vancouver Golf Tour’s) Vancouver Open and played some of my worst golf ever. So I really don’t know what James will show up.
“I’m hoping that the best James possible will show up. If that does happen, I know I can get through. But if I have the VGT James then it’s going to be bleak.”
Lepp, a two-time winner on the Canadian Tour, said he made the decision to head to Q school this summer but did not advertise the fact he was going. He hasn’t played much golf in the past few weeks.
“I’m at a trade show right now and I guess that isn’t the best preparation for it,” he said. “But I usually play better when I haven’t played too much so I hope that works out for me.”
Lepp joins a large group of British Columbians attending the first stage of Q school over the next couple of weeks, including Nick Taylor, Eugene Wong, Matt Daniel, James Allenby, Darren Wallace, Roger Sloan, Ryan Williams, Adam Cornelson, Nathan Leonhardt and Cory Renfrew.
BOUNCES BACK: The worst day of SooBin Kim’s young collegiate golf career was followed by three of her best.
The Coquitlam resident and University of Washington sophomore was devastated when she shot an 82 in a team qualifier for last week’s Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, a tournament the Huskies have been playing host to for 31 years.
That score meant Kim was left off the four-person Huskies team for the tournament, but she did compete as an individual.
And she competed very well. The former Canadian Junior Girls champion shot rounds of 71, 67 and 67 to set a tournament record with a score of 11-under 205 and won the individual title by 12 shots for the second victory of her collegiate career.
“It was really depressing to shoot 82 and not make the team,” Kim told the UW athletic department. “The coaches were with me after the round comforting me. They gave me the courage to play and believed in me. They wanted me to learn from this experience and turn it around.”
It turned out to be a perfect day for the Huskies, who went on to win the team title for the first time in the tournament’s history even though they couldn’t count Kim’s score.
TOUR TAKEOVER: The PGA Tour is expected to announce later this week that it is taking over the struggling Canadian Tour.
The PGA Tour will likely use the Canadian Tour, which would be rebranded PGA Tour Canada, as a feeder tour to the Web.com Tour.
If it does proceed with the takeover, the PGA Tour wants an event in the Metro Vancouver area next summer and Quilchena Golf & Country Club in Richmond is interested in playing host to a tournament.
The Canadian Tour last stopped in Metro Vancouver in 2009, when Hazelmere Golf Club played host to the City of Surrey Invitational.
SKIPPING SCHOOL: He made the cut at this summer’s Senior British Open, but Surrey’s Phil Jonas has decided not to enter this month’s first stage of Champions Tour qualifying school.
Jonas, who teaches out of Hazelmere and McCleery, said his game needs sharpening and he hopes to attend Q school next year.
Victoria’s Jim Rutledge, a regular on the Champions Tour this year, will get a pass through to the final state of Q school, which goes Nov. 13-16 in Coral Springs, Fla.
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