70 YEAR HISTORY (1946-2016)
It was back in 1946 that the legendary golfer Stan Leonard of Marine Drive Golf Club and some local pros created the BC MATCH PLAY. The event would become one of Canada’s Premier Golf Tournaments, reported to be 2nd in popularity to the Canadian Open in its heights. It is reported (by the late Arv Olson) that before the age of television and PGA Tour golf, fans would come in the thousands to watch some of the top local Amateurs take on some of the top PGA Pros in some heated battles on BC’s most exclusive Private Clubs. At its peak in 1953, the BC MATCH PLAY would record upwards of 25,000 fans over the course of the event from the Qualifying Rounds to the 36-Hole Finals. “Only the Canadian Open can compare with that kind of attendance” stated Leonard after taking the F.B. McElroy trophy for the 4th time.
By 1973, and sponsored by the Vancouver Sun, the format changed to team-best ball in an effort to re-kindle interest and accommodate larger entries. With additional players the purse increased to a whopping $4,300. Pros Gordie Fairburn and Tom Moryson each collected $600 for the first of 2 straight victories. Sponsored by Mitsushiba Canada in 1992, Ward Stouffer and Lanny Sawchuck pocketed $1,500 each as Champions. In the late 1990’s, RE/MAX Canada took over the Title Sponsorship of the event under the helm of Bill Wilms of Fairway Tournaments. When RE/MAX pulled out their sponsorship of the event in 2006, Fairway Tournaments passed on the torch to the Vancouver Golf Tour, and in 2007 the BC MATCH PLAY had a new Title Sponsor in CANADA BREAD, who has retained the Title Sponsor role to this day. In 2014, with efforts to increase attendance in field size, the BC MATCH PLAY expanded to include two Tournament Divisions, namely the scratch tournament and handicap tournament.
With continued thanks to eight year Title Sponsor CANADA BREAD, this year’s BC MATCH PLAY Total Purse has increased to $17,500. The scratch team’s winning share will equal $5,000 and the handicap team’s winning share will equal $2,000, the maximum allowable for amateurs to accept in golf competition.
Although we are fairly sure now that the PGA TOUR coverage and television will make it hard to reach a fan base of 25,000 golfers on site, we are hoping we can create some special online moments for our fans through our official website and social media feeds. Stay tuned for announcements on how you as the local golf fan enjoy the match updates and some video streaming of the matches on our website and through social media.
On behalf of the Vancouver Golf Tour, our tournament committee and team of volunteers, I hope you have an incredible experience at this year’s BC MATCH PLAY and look forward to sharing some great memories on the golf course with you all!
Whether you are a spectator lining the ropes or registered in the field with your partner, I look forward to seeing you at the Qualifying Weekend on March 25th or 26th at Pagoda Ridge in Langley!
I hope you enjoy the 70th Anniversary Celebration of this historic event!
President | Vancouver Golf Tour
Committee Chairman | BC Match Play
Vancouver City Match Play Turns 70
The City Match Play conceived by Stan Leonard, Fred Wood, Ernie Brown and Jock McKinnon has basically been played as an individual competition and a team competition throughout the seventy years. The event may be a one of a kind for competitions in North America. The competition has four distinguishing characteristics:
- It is the last surviving match play event in BC
- As a team competition it is a best ball score format
- It gives amateurs the opportunity to play against professionals
- The competition is stretched over six weekends.
Match Play Champions 1946-2015
- 1946 Fred Wood
Frank McElroy, Walt McElroy’s father, donated the McElroy Trophy
Province Match Play
- 1947 Bill Mawhinney
- 1948 Stan Leonard
- 1949 Stan Leonard
- 1950 Stan Leonard
- 1951 Hugh Morrison
- 1952 Hugh Morrison
- 1953 Stan Leonard
- 1954 Stan Leonard
- 1955 Bill Mawhinney
- 1956 Bert Ticehurst
- 1957 Bill Thompson
The Vancouver Province dropped their sponsorship
City Match Play Open
- 1958 Lyle Crawford
- 1959 John Johnston
- 1960 Lyle Crawford
- 1961 Bob Cox Jr
- 1962 Bert Ticehurst
- 1963 Lyle Crawford
Dueck Match Play
- 1964 Lyle Crawford
- 1965 Don Gardner
The Vancouver Sun newspaper commenced a fourteen year relationship with the event.The McElroy Trophy was retired and replaced by the Sun Match Play Open Trophy.
Sun Match Play Open
- 1966 John Russell
- 1967 Bob Cox Jr.
- 1968 Dick Munn
- 1969 Bob Cox Jr.
- 1970 Dick Munn
The Sun Match Play Open trophy was retired and replaced by the Bill Thompson Trophy
- 1971 Ron Willey
- 1972 Doug Reid
- 1973 Gord Fairburn/Tom Moryson
- 1974 Gord Fairburn/Tom Moryson
- 1975 Bob Mitchell/Al Kennedy
- 1976 Dave Mick/Jack Frank
- 1977 Bob Cox/Dave Barr
- 1978 Bob Cox/Tom Whittle
- 1979 Doug Roxburgh/Steve Berry
BCPGA Team Match Play Open
- 1980 Brian Wells
- 1981 Doug Roxburgh
BCPGA Steel Bros Match Play Open for the Steel Bros Shield
- 1982 Bob Cox
- 1983 Brent Franklin
- 1984 Sandy Harper
BCPGA Team Match Play Open
- 1985 Cec Ferguson/Muncie Booth
- 1986 Bob Cox//John Morgan
- 1987 Doug Roxburgh/Don Griffiths
- 1988 Doug Roxburgh/Don Griffiths
- 1989 Kelly Murray/Stan Dixon
- 1990 Keir Smith/Ray Henry
- 1991 Scott Minni/Garrett Deck
The BC PGA ceased operating the City Match Play Team Championship. Bill Wilms, the founder of the very successful Auto West Amateur Golf Tour, assumed the operation of the City Match Play event.
Mitsushiba BCPGA Team Match Play
- 1992 Ward Stouffer/Lanny Sawchuk
Speedy Auto Glass Team Match Play
- 1993 Daryl Stubbs/Chris Hairell
- 1994 Brian Wells /Casey Wells
- 1995 John Aasen/Murray Poje
- 1996 Scott Minni/Garret Deck
- 1997 Jeff Kraemer/Dave Kraemer
BC Team Match Play Open
- 1998 Dan Douet/Brad Olding
- 1999 Doug Morgan /David Jukes
Remax BCPGA Team Match Play Open
- 2000 Marty Scoles/Kris Yardley
- 2001 Bryn Perry/John Robertson
- 2002 Dan Norton/Shingo Akizuki
- 2003 Fraser Mulholland/ Andrew Smeeth
- 2004 Phil Jonas/James Harper
- 2005 Matt Palsenbarg/ John Shin
Riverside BCPGA Team Match Play Open
- 2006 James Allenby/Josh Taylor
BC Match Play Open
- 2007 Dan Swanson/ Richard Kellington
- 2008 Matt Palsemberg/John Shin
In 2009 Fraser Mulholland incorporated the BC Team Match Play competition into his Vancouver Golf Tour. He has maintained the team concept with a qualifying event plus four weeks on match play competition to produce the winning team. The same four characteristics of the event have been preserved.
Canada Bread BC Match Play
- 2009 Mark Burke/Mewail Kidane
- 2010 Kevin Hogg/ Dave Zibrik
- 2011 Kevin Stinson/ Josh Taylor
- 2012 Matt Daniel/ Matt Makinson
- 2013 Matt Daniel/ Matt Makinson
- 2014 Jared Rempel/ Ryan Williams
- 2015 Thomas Hay/ Jeremy Paradis
- 2016 Brad Clapp / Riley Wheeldon
- 2017 Matt Palsenbarg / James Allenby
Good luck to all competitors in the 2108 event.
The BC Golf Museum is searching for the original McElroy Trophy, the Vancouver Sun trophy and the Bill Thompson Trophy.