Busy season takes toll on Wiggins at B.C. club pro championships

It has been a long, busy summer for Mountain View Golf Club pro Jeff Wiggins. His duties as director of golf at the club, overseeing operations and making everything run smooth, kept him off the course more than he'd like.

It has been a long, busy summer for Mountain View Golf Club pro Jeff Wiggins.

His duties as director of golf at the club, overseeing operations and making everything run smooth, kept him off the course more than he’d like. He also put less competitive rounds under his belt than usual.

All that took a toll on him at the Canada PGA of B.C. Club Professional Championship this week.

Wiggins tied for 19th out of 48 top B.C. pros on Wednesday at the Seymour Golf & Country Club in North Vancouver.

“This last round, this tournament, summed up the year,” said Wiggins. “It was a year that I didn’t play a lot and I didn’t play any good quality golf, meaning competitive golf. I like to get out a couple times in the beginning of the year in June or July, and get a couple tournaments in. It keeps me motivated for the summer and gives me something to work on and focus on and is an integral part of my career.

“This year I just didn’t get it and the reason for that is priorities. With us losing our assistant early in the year, (assistant pro) Graham (Frey) and I had to take on a little more responsibility this year … So playing took a backseat this year. Priorities had to be on the operations, the staff, the service levels and things like that.”

Wiggins, who placed third in last year’s championship, carded a 74 in Round 1 on Tuesday, putting him in a tie for fifth. An 80 in the decisive second round dropped him down the leaderboard.

“The first day, the first nine holes were great,” said Wiggins. “I was two-under after nine and went on a bad stretch of bogeys through 10, 11, 12, and sort limped into club house. But I got tired after nine holes.

“Day 2, my expectation was hopefully somewhere around par, a couple over, I wasn’t expecting a great day. But I thought an average day around par would be enough to keep the top-five placing. I didn’t get off to a good start and for the most part, that whole day was just so-so. There was nothing fantastic that happened.”

Only one player, 10th place finisher Brian McDonald, managed to hit under par on Day 2. The championship winner, Doug Morgan from Redwoods Golf Course in Langley, was the only player to finish under par, shooting a three-under over two rounds. Bill Kelly and Kevin Maxwell, who tied for second, both finished with even pars.

Wiggins got into a bit of trouble early on in Round 2. His tee shot on Hole 1 got buried in the wet sand of a bunker, right under the lip, and it took two strokes to get out. Wiggins ended up two-putting to bogey the hole.

“After that I couldn’t get anything going,” said Wiggins. “I didn’t feel competitive.”

“I felt a little bit tired, the tempo was out in the swing, so every swing was a different speed,” he added. “Anytime you have that, the ball contact isn’t going to be pure. And your distance control is going to be inaccurate.”

Wiggins, 36, shot five over to tie for 15th at the 2014 Titleist/FootJoy PGA of B.C. Championship at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver this past August. By placing T15, Wiggins moved up to a career high of 136th in the PGA of Canada rankings and automatically qualified for the Canadian PGA Club Professional Championships of Canada next month in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

“I’m feeling it. I’m a little bit tired, the body is a little bit sore. I look outside and there’s six inches of snow, so the season is pretty much done. But we still have a tough month ahead of us, getting everything done.

“Then I can maybe rest, recover, and focus on the Canadians. That’s the priority now.”

A big part of the provincial championship is about networking with other pros, discussing the industry and what’s coming out next season. The Canadian championships are all about the competition, said Wiggins.

“The Canadian club pro (championship), that’s the one we focus on playing … that’s strictly competition,” said Wiggins. “So I want to be in the right state of mind, I want my body in a position where I can go down there and perform. I do have an expectation of a top-15 in the Canadians.”

Wiggins, who is originally from Saskatoon and turned pro in 1997, placed 27th last year and tied for 20th in 2011 at the Canadian championships in Florida.

This year’s championship will be held at Arizona’s Sunridge Canyon Golf Club, home of the “wicked six” – the nickname for the challenging final six holes that can turn a good round into a heartbreaker.

“They are extremely tough and if the winds come in from the east, it’s probably the six hardest holes I’ve ever played in my life,” said Wiggins. “Nobody goes low on the last six holes. It’s trying to get your score under after 12, and then hang on for dear life.”

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