If there’s a name that everyone knows at the NAPA Peace Country Open, it’s multi-time champion Travis Eggers.
Eggers has his name on just about every amateur trophy in the region and was poised to etch it on another title until he ran into a red hot 19-year-old.
Jared Nicolls, who arrived at Lakepoint Golf and Country Club this weekend at the suggestion of his dad to get another tournament in before the Canadian Amateur Championships next week, became the open winner with a 3&2 championship flight winner over Eggers Monday afternoon.
“I didn’t know much about the event until I went and looked at the trophy the first day I got here and I saw his name on it seven times,” Nicolls recalled. “I played with him before the event, so I knew he’d probably be pretty tough to beat.”
The Ponoka, Alberta, native is a National Collegiate Athletic Association golfer at Stetson University in Florida. Hot off his first season in the program he said he just focused on making par to put pressure on his opponents in the match play format event.
“The first two rounds I was just steady. I didn’t make a bogey at all in the first two rounds and I kept the ball in play. I putted okay, my ball striking was definitely really good, so I felt like I was really tough to beat the first two days,” Nicolls said.
“I just pared the guys to death, so as soon as they made a mistake the hole was pretty much over. I hit a lot of greens, it just mattered on the putter.”
In the final against Eggers, the 5-10 sophomore said after a quick start where he birdied two of the first three holes he wasn’t able to pull away from the longtime Lakepoint veteran.
“In the championship round, I got off to a pretty quick start, I was 2 under through three and then Travis made a couple good putts really early in the round,” Nicholls said before adding his putting came around on the back nine.
“Once again my ball striking was good and I was hitting it close on the front nine, the putts weren’t dropping. I made the turn one down and we got to the back nine and then the putts started dropping and I won three holes in a row. I was two up going into 16 and I made a 15-footer from the fringe to close it out.”
Nicolls was all smiles when he finally got his hands on the trophy that was given out this year for the 58th time and said it was an awesome feeling to finally win a big tournament.
“I haven’t won a tournament in a long-time, since I’ve been playing golf in Florida, division one, some stiff competition there, so it’s definitely good to finally win,” he added.
Kelly Smeeth took home first place in the ladies flight with a win over Linda Harvey after falling in last year’s open to Cheryl Lequiere.
It was also a bounce back year for the tournament with more than 80 golfers participating in the match play event that started on July 31 and finished Aug. 1. Last year only 56 golfers played in the event.
With the marquee event of year for Lakepoint in the rearview mirror, the course will quickly turn around for their second biggest tournament of the summer, the Wonowon Water Services Charity Pro-Am from Aug. 9-10. That event also serves as the final major of the Vancouver Golf Tour season.
Each flight winner for the Peace Country Open is listed below:
Jared Nichols 3&2 over Travis Eggers
Kelly Smeeth over Linda Harvey
Craig Letendre over James Ivers
Rod Gullion over Dwayne Speager
Justin Taylor over Walter Mineault
Phil Bernert over Lex Neufeld
Randy Paquette over Mike Gilmer