Years of play on the unforgiving Mountain View Golf Course in Whitehorse put Jeff Wiggins in good stead at the 2013 PGA of B.C. Club Pro Championship last week.
Wiggins, who is the club pro and director for Mountain View, wasn’t intimidated by the challenging Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver.
Wiggins, 36, was finding fairways en route to placing third at the championships.
“I told Global (Television) too when they asked me what I attribute this good play to … I said, ‘I come from Whitehorse and it’s a fantastic golf course, but it’s a tight, difficult golf course, that I very much respect. But when I come down here to a place like Shaughnessy, that most golf professionals think is really, really tight and really, really tough, it’s not so much for me. I’m used to that.’
“I don’t stand on a tee and look at a narrow fairway and say, ‘Uh oh. I can’t go left or right, I have to hit this straight.’ I say, ‘This reminds me of Hole 3 at Mountain View.’”
Despite rainy, wet conditions, Wiggins carded a 72 and a 74 to end with even par on the Par 73 course and his best finish at the championship.
He finished three strokes behind winner Scott Rodgers of Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows and two strokes behind second place’s Cory Betz of Eaglecrest Golf Course in Qualicum Beach.
“I came out a little tentative on the front nine on the second round,” said Wiggins. “I didn’t want to get too aggressive on the front nine (and) all of a sudden hit a four over and be out of the mix.
“But I was a little bit too patient, though … If I could have gone back and done it over, I would have gotten a little more aggressive early in the round.”
“It was good. I played well,” he added. “I had no expectations going in because I didn’t play any events this year. So when I went down there I had an open mind.”
The Shaughnessy club has hosted the Canadian Open five times, most recently in 2005 and 2011.
“You can’t not enjoy Shaughnessy, it’s a tough golf course,” said Wiggins. “You start to see the holes they play in the Canadian Open and go, ‘Wow, now I know why this is a tough hole.’ Or, ‘Now I know why it’s important to hit it over here or over there, when you watch the PGA Tour guys.’ Because if you don’t hit it over there, you’re done … there’s no way to get it close.”
With the third place finish, Wiggins earned a spot at the Club Professional Championship of Canada next month in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
In 2011, while becoming the first club pro to represent the Yukon at the national championship event, Wiggins tied for 20th.
Last year he finished tied for 62nd out of 93 pros.
“Last year was the Wanamaker course and it was a little more challenging. If you look at the winner, he was minus-two,” said Wiggins. “This year it’s back on the Ryder course – not that the Ryder course is easier at all. It just fits me extremely well. The course is a little more undulating and the greens are a little faster in my opinion. It’s got some real tough short-game shots when you miss a green. So you have to be a creative short-game guru to get the up-and-down, and that just fits well with my game.”
Wiggins, who is originally from Saskatoon, has been with Mountain View for six seasons. He was named Golf Professional of the Year by the Professional Golfers’ Association of British Columbia last November.
He is going to Arizona to relax a little after another busy season in Whitehorse and to begin training for the club pro national.
“I’m going to set the bar high this year and say top-10,” said Wiggins. “I think winning it would be unrealistic, but a top-10 is realistic.
“For me, it’s another opportunity to get more publicity for the Yukon, show people what we’re doing up here, talk about things we do up here and how things are up here.
“It still surprises people when we tell people about the conditions we have up here and the facility we have.”
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