UBC golf coach hopes to take on the pros at Canadian Open
July 19, 2011
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Monday morning at Morgan Creek Golf Course in South Surrey, 50 golfers will tee off, all looking for a chance to take on the best in the world. The top four finishers will earn a spot at this week's RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, the other 46 get nothing.
And while all 50 come into the qualifying round with their own unique story, it's a safe bet that none will enjoy the opportunity more than Lindsay Bernakevitch, UBC's assistant golf coach and club professional at Shaughnessy.
"I'm just going to have fun," said Bernakevitch. "I don't player nearly as much as I used to, so it's much about having fun as competing. If I have a good result, that's fantastic, if not, I can take it in stride with where I am in my life."
Bernakevitch, who went to UBC from 1999-2001 before transferring to Western Washington University, spent a number of years on the Canadian Tour before ending his professional dreams in 2008. He took his teaching job at Shaughnessy, assists the UBC Golf team, but rarely plays competitively. However, the chance to be a local qualifier at his home course gave him motivation.
"Working full-time, I don't really have time to play...like I used to. But the tournament being in Vancouver on the course I work at made it an easy decision."
Bernakevitch made it to this point by shooting an even-par 72 at last month's regional qualifier at Point Grey Golf and Country, finishing in a tie for 16th in a 149-man field, beating out some past and present T-Birds whom he has coached.
"It's interesting, playing against the guys that I coach," he said. "It's definitely not in the same atmosphere...but it's great to see them pursue at the higher level, and it's fun to compete."
To make it to Shaugnessy, Bernakevitch will have to beat out an eclectic cast that includes Carlos Franco, a 46 year-old who has won three times on PGA tour, Adam Svensson, a 17-year-old from Surrey who won last year's Callaway World Junior Championship, and a host of other professionals and amateurs in between. He estimates a score of 4 or 5 under on the Morgan Creek that he knows "decently well" would put him in contention. Should his hopes come to fruition, he'll compete on the PGA Tour on a course he knows better than any of his competitors.
"That's one of the perks," he said. "I definitely don't want to get ahead of myself, I definitely know Shaughnessy."
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