Winning the Jackson Triggs Penticton Men’s Open at the Penticton Golf and Country Club (PGCC) has eluded Matt Hopkins a few times.
In previous years Hopkins finished second. Not this time. Hopkins won with a record-breaking score of 14-under par and never trailed over the three days of the tournament which wrapped up on July 23. Hopkins opened with a first round score of 63, followed by a 69 and 64.
“It was amazing,” said Hopkins, a Nelson native who moved to Penticton two years ago, on his record. “I bogeyed the first hole. Started off kind of rough that way.”
Everything changed on the eighth hole. He hit a shot behind a tree and had to chip out. After that he made what he estimated to be a 30-foot putt for par, which gave him momentum. He birdied the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes.
“I just got a lot of confidence with the putter going. After you made a few putts, you just feel like you can kind of make the next one,” said Hopkins, who played college golf at Lindenwood University in Missouri and one season on the Canadian Tour in 2007. “I don’t think I’ve ever played that well in terms of tournament golf. It sort of all clicked.”
Hopkins said the championship featured good players, some who hit the ball further than him. After building a six stroke lead on the opening day, he wasn’t overly concerned about his competition.
What Hopkins enjoyed of the three days was the improvement in his game. With the help of instructor Adam Werbicki of Edmonton, Hopkins has improved his iron play and approaches.
Penticton’s Steve Thompson blasts out of a sand trap during the opening round of the 58th annual Jackson Triggs Men’s Open amateur golf tournament at the Penticton Golf and Country Club.
PGCC member Neil Mackie got a hole-in-one in the second round.
Runner up to Hopkins, who finished with 196, was Brian McDonald of the Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver with 209. The division 1 low gross winner was Penticton’s Kurtis Fontinha of PGCC at 218. Dan Bates of Summerland was the low net winner at 207. Division two winners were Summerland’s Nick Phillips with 229 for low gross and B.C. Golf’s Levi DeWaal with a 208 for low net. Division 3 winners were Garrett Smith of Williams Lake scoring 239 to take low gross, while Kim Hodal of Fraserview scored 209 for low net.