KELOWNA – SPORTS — After he birdied his fourth hole in six tries Sunday at the GolfBC Championship, Jake Knapp turned his sights to a nearby leaderboard, expecting to find comfort with his name at the top of it.
Except it wasn’t. It wasn’t anywhere close.
But Knapp held steady, and—despite a record 59 from Greyson Sigg and a 7-under 64 by his best friend Jonathan Garrick—eventually held on to win by one stroke at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club with a final-round 63. It was his second victory of the year after he won the season-opening Canada Life Open, the first player to win both events since Dan McCarthy did it in his record-setting four-win campaign of 2016.
“I couldn’t believe when I saw the leaderboard and my name wasn’t on top,” he said. “To shoot 4-under on the front you don’t really think you’re not going to be in first. I saw the score and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”
Knapp finished at 20-under 264, one clear of Garrick, his longtime roommate and teammate at UCLA. But it didn’t come without plenty of drama, as Sigg surged into the lead with a morning 59, the second such score in Mackenzie Tour—PGA TOUR Canada history and first in five years.
Sigg, who began his round nine shots off the lead, started the day with a front-nine 31 but began to realize something incredible was brewing shortly thereafter. He rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-3 13th, then followed it up with a 30-foot birdie on the par-4 14th. After a par on No. 15, the University of Georgia product birdied each of his last three holes, including a 7-foot up-and-down putt from over a ridge at 18.
“I shot 61 a couple times back home with some buddies, but definitely nowhere close to this in a tournament round,” said Sigg, who eventually finished third. “I came from behind with nothing to lose and got it going. I kept it going, knew I had a chance. I saw the leaderboard on 17 and knew I’d try to birdie 18. Ended up doing it.”
The 59 temporarily gave Sigg the lead at 17-under 267, but Knapp wasted little time in reclaiming the advantage with an eagle at No. 9. But there was still little time to rest, as Garrick poured in four consecutive birdies on Nos. 12 through 15 to pull within a shot.
“My goal for the day was that if I could get a lead going into the back nine and force guys to make birdies that puts them in a tough spot, because I know there’s not a lot of birdie holes out there,” Knapp said. “Jonathan put the pressure on those last four holes and played great. I knew I needed to be keep it going, keep it above 17-under, at least.”
It took until the 17th to finally end it, as Knapp pulled two shots ahead with a 15-foot birdie putt. That proved insurmountable for Garrick, who parred the hole, though a birdie at the last pulled him into solo second at 19-under.
“It’s just ironic. I talked to my coach last night, and he said if I did all that stuff I was supposed to and someone goes out and still beats me, all you can do is shake your hand,” Garrick said. “That’s exactly what happened.”
The thrilling finish capped off a wild Sunday that also saw GolfBC Group extend its title sponsorship of the GolfBC Championship, a decision that will continue to benefit the city of Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. The GolfBC Championship, in collaboration with the Chan Family Foundation, has generated more than $600,000 to charitable efforts since the tournament’s inception in 2016.
This year, $100,000 was donated to the BC Cancer Foundation, a portion of which was used to purchase a PET Scanner for the Okanagan Valley and will be housed at BC Cancer – Kelowna. An additional $50,000 was awarded to the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, which was selected from among 160 local nominations.
Jake Knapp, who now leads the Order of Merit, becomes the second player to claim the GolfBC Championship after opening the season with a victory in Vancouver. Dan McCarthy also accomplished the feat in 2016, the inaugural year of the Kelowna event. McCarthy went on to win four times that season.
Knapp becomes the first repeat winner this season. The last player to win multiple events in a season was Tyler McCumber in 2018. He won three times that year.
Greyson Sigg’s 59 was the second such score in Mackenzie Tour—PGA TOUR Canada history. It was last accomplished by Brady Schnell at the 2014 ATB Financial Classic. Jason Bohn shot a 58 in 2001 when it was the Canadian Tour.
Prior to Sunday, Sigg had an average score of 70 in nine career rounds at Gallagher’s Canyon. It dropped more than a full stroke, to 68.9, following his 59.
Sigg finished T35 at the GolfBC Championship in 2018 and missed the cut the year prior. His third-place finish was the best of his career. He ended in a tie for fourth at least year’s Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist.
Third-round leader Lorens Chan closed with a 3-under 68 to finish in fourth place. It was the best career result for Chan, whose career began with a sponsor exemption at the 2016 GolfBC Championship.
Paul Barjon, who began the week as the Order of Merit leader, posted a final-round 69 to end in a tie for sixth. He is projected to drop to second in the Order of Merit between Knapp.
Billy Walthouse carded the third hole-in-one of the week on Sunday at the 175-yard No. 3. A final round 66 pushed him into tie for 29th in what was the first made cut of his career. Bennett Wisner and Ian Holt carded the first two aces of the week at No. 8 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Open qualifier Drew McCullough fired a 4-under 67 to finish at 12-under 67 to finish T9. With the top-20 finish, he earns a spot into next week’s Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open.
The low Canadian this week was Riley Wheeldon, who finished T22 at 9-under 275. Canadian amateur Chris Crisologo finished T42, sponsor exemption John Mlikotic finished T55, and Jared du Toit finished T63.
“That was huge. Having a one-shot lead versus a two-shot lead going into 18 makes a world of difference. I don’t think he probably would have hit driver if I was only one-up. I told my caddie walking up, ‘Let’s just roll one in, we haven’t really made any birdies on the back.’ I made a twister on 12 but I missed a short one on 15 so it felt really good to get that one on 17.” – Jake Knapp on the birdie at No. 17
“I want to try and win every single week. Realistically you’re probably not going to, but I am going to give myself a chance. And the fact I won on two courses where I can’t hit driver and can’t really take advantage of my length (is encouraging). I think we get on some more open courses I can do that and hopefully give myself a few more looks at it.” – Jake Knapp
“I hit driver on No. 1 and it was probably the best drive I had all week. I split the fairway and said, ‘Man I’m feeling good about it.’ I really kind of came out with no expectations. It’s easier to shoot 59 where I was today coming into the last round. Just had it going and luckily enough I was able to shoot 59.” – Greyson Sigg
“It gives me a lot of confidence, for sure. Obviously played a really good round of golf today. Hopefully we’ll see what happens here. But definitely moving forward a lot of confidence. Looking forward to the rest of the season.” – Greyson Sigg
“Once I pulled driver on 12, that just set the tone for the back nine. Like I’ve been saying, I’ve finished top-five a bunch but haven’t won. Second is the same thing as finishing 15 to me. I was just trying to win and kept thinking about what I wanted to do and play aggressively, and it kept paying off.” – Jonathan Garrick
“I was just telling Kyler (Dunkle) that I didn’t think we played that bad. I left a few putts out there, but man, if you told me 8-, 7-, 12-under were the top three scores, that’s good. I didn’t think I played that bad, there was just nothing I could do.” – Lorens Chan
“It is nice to have the bonus for low Canadian. There are lots of good Canadians out here. I just got lucky that a bunch had off weeks.” – Riley Wheeldon
Fourth-Round Weather: Mostly sunny. High of 31. Wind N at 6 kph.