By Zack Hall
Pacific Northwest Senior PGA Championship
Where: Tetherow Golf Club, Bend
What: 36-hole stroke play
Today and Friday: Tee times start at 7:30 a.m.
Locals: In the championship division, Mark Amberson of Awbrey Glen, Scott Cravens of Crave Golf, Jeff Fought of Black Butte Ranch, Bob Garza of Lost Tracks and George Mack Jr. of Black Butte Ranch. In the senior division, Terry Anderson of Black Butte Ranch, Mark Payne of Prineville Golf Club, Jim Wilkinson of Lost Tracks
Live scoring: www.pnwpga.com
Chris van der Velde had every intention of playing a nine-hole practice round Wednesday morning.
Then work happened.
The 50-year-old managing partner at Tetherow Golf Club in Bend was forced to skip his morning round so he could tend to his business — while wearing his golf shoes. Hardly the ideal preparation for an important golf tournament at his home course.
Van der Velde figures to have a chance to contend at the two-day Pacific Northwest Senior PGA Championship — which tees off at Tetherow today and features a field of 64 of the region’s most decorated club pros age 50 and older — if only work would get out of the way.
“I’m 50 now and I think I am working a little too hard, but we’ll see,” said van der Velde, who will be riding a GolfBoard during his round, making him likely the first pro ever to ride the skateboard/golf cart hybrid (made by a Bend company) in an official golf tournament.
“If I get hot with the putter or hit the ball all right, I have a chance,” van der Velde added.
This will just be the start of a busy stretch on the course for van der Velde, a former tour pro who once played on the European Tour.
A Dutch-American dual national, van der Velde will travel to Japan next week to coach the team from the Netherlands at the World Amateur Team Championship.
He also has been invited to play in October’s Dutch Senior Open, an event on the European Senior Tour.
Van der Velde welcomed the invite and will travel to the Netherlands for what will be his first major professional tournament in nearly 30 years.
“I love what I do and I think Tetherow is a really fun thing,” van der Velde said. “But I still love playing golf. But I look at it now as my hobby. It’s a very fun hobby, because it’s a professional hobby. If I play well I win money. If I don’t, than I didn’t have to spend those five hours in the office.”
First things first.
Plenty is on the line for van der Velde and five other locals — Mark Amberson of Awbrey Glen Golf Club, Scott Cravens of Crave Golf, Jeff Fought of Black Butte Ranch, Bob Garza of Lost Tracks Golf Club and George Mack Jr. of Black Butte Ranch — who are among the 49 golfers in the tournament’s championship division. (Fifteen golfers, including three from Central Oregon, are competing in the senior division.)
In addition to every golfer wanting to win the championship, the low seven golfers after Friday’s final round qualify for the 2014 Senior PGA Professional National Championship in November at PGA Golf Club, Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The low golfers from that tournament qualify for the 2015 Senior PGA Championship.
Last year, both Cravens and Fought qualified for the National Championship, though neither advanced to the Senior PGA.
A crack at a Champions Tour major championship was carrot enough for van der Velde, despite a limited playing schedule that has included only the Northwest Senior Players Championship in April and the Oregon Open Invitational in June.
“That’s why I am playing,” van der Velde said. “I’ve been so busy with work I pulled out of a few (tournaments). I was going to play in three, four or five events and I ended up only playing in the Players Championship and the Oregon Open. I just didn’t have time. I’m looking forward to playing this one.”
— Reporter: 541-617-7868, email@example.com .