Prince Rupert Golf Course manager Dave Belling didn’t go to Phoenix, Arizona for a vacation. He went to win the United States Golf Teachers Cup (USGTC), the same thing he does every year when the season winds down.
And this year, the two-time overall champion won the senior division with a score of 150, good for fourth place overall.
“It’s always an honour to win an event,” said Belling, now back in Rupert tending to his golf course.
It’s nice to win, he acknowledges, but he doesn’t do it for the personal achievements or the glory. It’s about the experience.
“It’s a great group of guys; the camaraderie is good,” he said.
Another reason Belling has been participating in this tournament for the last 15 years is the timing. The event runs right at the end of his golf season, which means he’s still sharp. If it ran in January, he’s not so sure he would be as successful.
It wasn’t an easy tournament either. Belling faced off against some of the best players in the Teachers Cup and the course was tough.
“It was hard and fast with no rough,” he said. “They had it shaved right to the desert. Anything moving that way was gone.”
At the end of the first day, he was four shots behind Michael Wolf but changed gears the second day to end up with a one-shot win.
“I played the golf course extremely smart the last 27 holes. I hit the ball in the middle of the fairway, in the middle of the green and took my two putts,” he said.
Because of the challenge of the course, Belling decided on a more conservative approach. One bad swing could cost you three shots, he said. Although he isn’t one to brag about what he’s accomplished, he is happy he overcame an early setback.
“I’m proud of myself for coming back from a four-shot deficit,” said Belling.
As a perfectionist, the golfer knows he can always be better.
Mark Harman won the overall tournament, with a score of 142. It’s the sixth time he has won the Cup.