Greg Machtaler is trying to renew his professional golfing career on the Canadian PGA Tour.
The assistant pro from the Summerland Golf and Country Club took a first step towards that by earning his exemption status in the PGA Tour Canada Q-School in Courtenay at the Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community, May 5-9.
Machtaler had an edge on his competition entering the qualifier after meeting with former Canadian PGA Tour player Richard Zokol a few days before.
“He’s got some great philosophies on the mental side of the game,” said Machtaler, who just tried to absorb as much knowledge possible from Zokol. “Who better to take advice from than a guy who played the PGA Tour for years and years and won on the tour. He knows what it takes.”
Machtaler became friends with Zokol as the two are Brigham Young University alumnus. Machtaler works with him and another friend on his game at Vernon’s Predator Ridge Resort. Machtaler said their lunch meeting made a huge difference.
The Q-school event was nerve-racking for the 30-year-old Prince George native.
“You’re playing for your livelihood,” said Machtaler. “If you don’t play well, you don’t get your status and you don’t have anywhere to play for the year. Every shot counts.”
In the tournament, Machtaler just tried to eliminate the big mistakes and play smart. “Not shoot yourself out of it with one really bad hole,” he said.
Machtaler, who isn’t working at the Summerland Golf and Country Club this year, managed to control his game and tied fellow Canadian Benjamin Silverman for fourth as they fired 281 in four rounds.
Machtaler was pleased with the results as he hadn’t played in a tournament since winning the 2013 Titleist/FootJoy PGA of BC Championship in August. “To come fourth against guys who have been in big tournaments all year, I was ecstatic with it,” he said.
Machtaler originally left the tour, then called the Canadian Tour, in 2011 to re-evaluate his life. He eventually decided he wanted one more crack at a pro career so getting his card back means a lot. The top five on the money list at seasons end earn status on the PGA’s web.com tour, which is right below the PGA. It’s the only way to get on the tour.
Now Machtaler will work on his game until his next tournament, the PC Financial Open in Vancouver’s Point Grey G&CC, May 29 to June 1. It’s a new event added to the tour and comes with a total purse of $150,000. After that is the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by the Times Colonist at Victoria’s Uplands Golf Course. The total purse is $150,000. Last year’s winner took home $27,000. Machtaler is excited to tee off at those courses because it feels like home for him. He will have people cheering him on.
“It’s two fantastic golf courses. I can’t wait to play both of them,” said Machtaler. “I’ve never played Point Grey before. One of best in Canada. Uplands in Victoria is a great course.”
Following those events, there are 10 more on the schedule for Machtaler. The last one is in London, Ont. on Sept. 11.