According to published reports emanating from the west coast (see Kyle German’s blog on the GNN home page), North Vancouver’s Bryn Parry is living up to the No. 1 ranking he holds going into the PGA Championship of Canada, which gets underway Wednesday at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club near Calgary.
“I’ve been playing pretty well. (Recently) I’ve managed to play golf three times. I’ve had a 66 at Marine Drive, a 64 at Chilliwack and a 67 at Quilchena. Those three scores are 18-under,” said Parry.
“My golf’s good. I’ve been hitting it really well. I’m not typically a fast starter, so I’m excited about where my game is this early in the year. For me, that’s a pretty good start,” he added.
“I’ve been getting the driver in play and giving myself lots of chances – high stat numbers for fairways and greens, lots of chances for birdies, not a whole lot of punishment on the short game, just kind of stress-free,” he said.
Parry, from the Seymour Creek Golf Centre, will open the CPGA match play event with a Stan Leonard bracket showdown against Jeff Chambers from the Elmwood Golf and Country Club in Swift Current, Sask.
With Chambers ranked 115th in the Canadian PGA rankings introduced earlier this year, Parry is the clear favourite, but he concedes that match play lends itself to upsets if your opponent gets hot and you aren’t at the top of your game. Add to that the fact that Parry hasn’t played much match play since he was a junior.
“I would think in the last 20 years, I’ve probably played three or four match play tournaments. It’s a different animal,” said Parry.
“In one round of golf, if I come up cold with the putter and another guy makes a couple or putts it really well, it’s going to be no contest,” he said.
“It’s a format where you have to go out and play good golf. You can’t expect to win six matches because the guy you played, played poorly. You’ve got to go beat people,” he added.
“In a stroke play tournament, I’m pretty confident that I can be patient enough to wait for myself to play good golf and my good golf will be at or near the top of the leaderboard. In match play, you’ve got to go. Right on the first tee, you’ve got to go,” said Parry.
That theory goes immediately into practice at Cottonwood, where Parry says he can’t afford to take Chambers lightly. For more on Chambers, see the GNN home page.
“We’ve got guys in B.C. that are ranked above 100 that win tournaments,” he said.
“They just haven’t committed to getting out of the shop and going and playing the national events or whatever their family situation is, they don’t travel to play the big events, but when they play locally, they can shoot mid-60s to high 60s and win tournaments,” said Parry.
The Canadian PGA tournament at Cottonwood marks the return of the national championship after a hiatus that extends back to 2005 when it was a Nationwide Tour event.
With a history that goes back to 1912. with past champions such as Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Al Balding, Moe Norman, Steve Stricker and George Knudson, many were relieved to see it revived, but Parry says there are also fond personal memories that go back to when he was about 12 years old.
“It’s one of the first events I ever got to see a pro play,” he said.
“The tournament was played at Quilchena (1990) and I went out, watched Dave Barr and Richard Zokol. It was my first time watching these guys hit shots and how far the ball goes,” he recalled.
“You’re standing 30 to 40 yards in front of the tee box and you hear this thing come whistling past you and, `Whoa, I’ve never heard that sound before,’ That’s pretty cool.”