Phil Jonas off to Portugal for another crack at Q-school
B.C. Golf Notes: 'I feel a lot better about my game than I did last year,' says PGA of B.C.'s 2012 teacher of the year
VANCOUVER — Making the cut at last summer's Senior British Open at Turnberry served as a tasty appetizer and now Phil Jonas is hoping to enjoy the main course on the European Senior Tour.
Jonas is heading to Portugal's Algarve coast this weekend to prepare for the first stage of qualifying school and thinks his experience at last year's Senior Open will help him.
"Since the Senior Open I have started playing better and better," said Jonas, the PGA of B.C.'s teacher of the year in 2012 who works out of Hazelmere and McCleery. "I feel a lot better about my game than I did last year."
Jonas believes a big part of the reason for that is the confidence he gained by finishing tied for 55th at the Senior Open in a field that was flush with big names. Jonas had received a one-time exemption by winning a significant South African Tour event in 1990.
"All of a sudden I realized I'm OK, I'm not that bad," Jonas said of his performance at Turnberry. "That helped a lot. In hindsight, I think a lot of my bad play was brought on by the Senior Open, just the anticipation of trying to make it right, trying too hard."
The first stage of Q-school goes Jan. 24-25 and the top 25 or 30 players from two venues will advance to the final stage, which will be played Jan. 28-31, also in Portugal.
The top six players at the 72-man final stage will earn exempt status for 2013. Those finishing sixth through 14th receive conditional status.
Jonas, who is travelling to Portugal thanks in part to the support of the West Coast Golf Group and its president, Michael Stuart, said he thought about skipping Q-school this year, but realized that he can't afford to let time slide by.
"I thought that maybe I'd wait and do it next year and then I realized I'm getting older, so you have to do these things sooner rather than later," said Jonas, who turns 51 in March.
Jonas, who missed getting through first stage last year by two shots, will have some B.C. company in Portugal. Mark Forrest, head pro at Belmont in Langley, is also in the field.
Victoria's Rick Gibson, who finished 34th on the 2012 money list, should gain entry into most events this year and is not playing at Q-school.
SAUCER ACCESSORY: Abbotsford's James Lepp, whose saucer pass chip shot got plenty of publicity thanks to his recent appearance on Golf Channel's Big Break series, has come up with an accessory for the unusual shot.
Lepp and his company, Kikkor Golf, have produced what he calls a Saucer Box. He plans to use it at the PGA Merchandise Show later this month in Orlando, Fla.
HOLIDAY IS OVER: After some rest and relaxation, which included a recent vacation in Mexico, Abbotsford's Adam Hadwin is getting back to work. With the Web.com Tour not starting until mid-February in Panama, Hadwin will attempt to Monday qualify for next week's PGA Tour stop, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego, Calif.
MAJOR MOMENTUM: The Vancouver Golf Tour's major series of tournaments continues to take shape. Commissioner Fraser Mulholland has the $100,000 West Coast Golf Group Open confirmed for May 28-30 at Hazelmere.
The VGT has two $80,000 events confirmed for May 16-18 at Royal-wood in Chilliwack and May 20-22 at Chilliwack Golf & Country Club. Its Tour Championship goes Sept. 23-27 at Pagoda Ridge in Langley.
The VGT is also partnering with the The First Tee of Greater Vancouver YMCA for the third annual First Tee $1 Million Hole-in-one challenge. That event goes June 27 at Langara.
CHIP SHOTS: Mark Strong is the new head pro at Richmond Country Club. Strong had been a longtime assistant pro at Vancouver Golf Club ... Former B.C. Amateur champion David Rose of West Vancouver tied for 29th at the recent Australian Master of the Amateurs tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Rose is also competing in this week's Australia Men's Amateur in Melbourne.
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