RILEY WHEELDON IS off to North Carolina next week to attend PGA qualifying school.

RILEY WHEELDON IS off to North Carolina next week to attend PGA qualifying school.

Wheeldon’s drive for PGA Tour card is on target

His first year on the Canadian Tour was satisfactory. But Riley Wheeldon would prefer not to return next season.

 

His first year on the Canadian Tour was satisfactory. But Riley Wheeldon would prefer not to return next season.

It’s nothing personal. It’s just that the 20-year-old Comox Valley golfer now has his sights set firmly on earning his PGA card. “That’s been the goal since Day One, and (next) month I have the chance to do it. I’m excited,” he said.

Wheeldon leaves on Oct. 7 for Kannapolis, North Carolina where the first stage of the PGA qualifying school is being held Oct. 18-21. Qualifying is a three-stage process, with the top 25 from each stage advancing. The final stage is set for December. Getting there and earning his PGA card has been Wheeldon’s focus over the past few months, but he has kept his Canadian Tour card just in case his first shot at the PGA comes up short.

Joining the elite echelon of any sport is never easy, but Wheeldon’s determination has already paid off. When his first attempt to earn his Canadian Tour card failed in April this year, he earned it in his second attempt a month later.

“It was a good experience,” Wheeldon said of his first year on the Canadian Tour. “I’ve been wanting to play pro golf since I started, so it was nice to finally have it come around.” Wheeldon played eight Canadian Tour events, with his best finish a tie for seventh at an Aug. 18-21 stop in Seaforth, Ont.

“That was kind of cool. I got to play with Adam Hadwin, who was my teammate at university (NCAA Div. 1 Louiville). He’s the No. 1 ranked player in Canada. I got to play with him on the last day. We have a friendly rivalry and I got the best of him. It was nice.”

Wheeldon has been playing golf since he was six years old. It started as a family outing, but he quickly discovered he had a flair for the game. “It came somewhat easy. Golf can be a frustrating game when you’re struggling. I started to enjoy the fact I was fairly good at it and took it from there,” he said of his competitive drive.

While he played a variety of team sports growing up, Wheeldon likes the fact that golf is an individual sport. “Being individually motivated is more satisfying when you succeed. Obviously you do need help here and there, but you know that it’s you that did it. You’re in control of your own destiny.”

Providing some of that help Wheeldon referred to is his golf coach Brent Morrison. “I’ve been with him since I’ve been playing competitively, so he knows me well.” Morrison used to work at Wheeldon’s home course of Crown Isle before moving his golf academy to Pheasant Glen in Qualicum several years ago.

Also helping Wheeldon since he turned pro has been sponsorship by close family friends and local businesses. “I’ve got a good support group around here who’ve helped me out financially, and I want to thank them,” said Wheeldon, who when not practising his game this summer was working part-time with his dad to help his cash-flow situation.

He notes that honing his game five or six days a week on the course, plus gym time, leaves him little time for much else. And with flight fares, tournament entry fees, hotels, meals and other expenses, life on the pro tour is not cheap. “It all comes out of my own pocket, but those (sponsors) have made it possible.”

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can check out www.wheeldongolf.ca for details. Wheeldon was trying to line up more sponsors when he was back home for the summer, but his focus now has switched from greenbacks to greens and fairways.

“My goal for the last few weeks has been getting ready for this qualifying school. It’s probably the biggest event I’ve ever played in.” And the first of what he hopes will be many more on the PGA Tour.

sports@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Josie Osborne was sworn into the Legislature virtually on Nov. 24. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne named minister of municipal affairs

The position was previously held by Selina Robinson, who is the province’s new finance minister

The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign poppies. This year the fundraising effort was mixed for local legions which have suffered from financial strain due to COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Mixed year for local legions during annual poppy campaign

Some find success, some struggle amidst the pandemic

There are more apartments coming for downtown Cumberland, but council wants to look at how to make sure there are rental units available. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland council calls for rental zoning options

Provincial amendments have only allowed communities to consider rental zoning since 2018

Comox and the school district are looking at formalizing a piece of school property for a dog park. Black Press file photo
School District 71, Comox work on formal dog park agreement

The site on unused school district property is already being used by dog owners

Lake Trail Middle school in Courtenay. File photo
Lake Trail Middle School closed due to threat

The credibility of the threat is being assessed and the investigation is being completed

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The Comox Valley Regional District and the Economic Development Society hope to establish a Rural Community Food Hub at the Merville Hall. Black Press file photo
Comox Valley Regional District board approve grant to establish rural food hub

The Comox Valley Regional District board has approved a $576,340 grant application… Continue reading

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel busts a rap to help promote the town’s active transportation plan. (Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Vancouver Island councillor makes rap video to promote active transportation plan

Active transportation is a personal matter for councillor Derek Koel.

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

Most Read