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Allenby eyes end of drought

It's been nearly five years since a Canadian has won a stop on the MacKenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada.

The last Canuck to breakthrough was Vancouver pro Ryan Williams, who captured the Tour Championship at the end of the 2014 season. A month earlier, Greg Machtaler of Summerland won a tour stop in Ottawa.

But, nothing since.

James Allenby came close to breaking through, finishing tied for second at the season-opening Canada Life Open at Point Grey in Vancouver three weeks ago.

He hopes to change that at the GolfBC Championship beginning Thursday morning at Gallagher's Canyon Golf and Country Club.

Allenby, 34, a Lower Mainland native led the Vancouver tournament by three shots heading into the final round, but a final round 64 vaulted Jake Knapp into a two-shot victory.

"My game plan that day was just to shoot something under par, and that would probably be good enough," said Allenby.

"At the end of the day, Jake goes out and shoots eight under par. I feel I got beat, so I don't know if I really lost the event."

It was Allenby's best finish since he tied for fourth in Victoria five years ago.

He got into the Canada Life Open on a sponsor's exemption, just as he did for this week's GolfBC Championship.

Allenby has had a good start to the season. Along with his second place finish in Vancouver, he also qualified for his first PGA Tour event, last week's RBC Canadian Open.

He missed the cut on a tough course in Hamilton by just two shots, after back-to-back even par rounds of 70.

Despite being his first PGA Tour event, two even par rounds was not satisfying.

"I set my bar a little higher than that, and even talking about making a cut...it's not really my focus.

"My focus is always to contend and win. So, I was a little further from doing that."

As for this weeks test at Gallagher's Canyon, Allenby believes the course requires precision, as opposed to a grip-it-and -rip-it mentality.

"It's very demanding off the tee...I feel fairways are very important to hit because the greens are going to firm up," he said.

"Coming out of the fairway and having some spin off the ball is going to be huge. You have lots of holes if you want to take out driver, but it narrows up quite a bit."

He believes many players will take less club to make sure they are in the right position.

Allenby leads a 16-player Canadian contingent into the tournament.

The Canadian group includes three Kelowna golfers, including 14-year-old amateur Cooper Humphreys, and Gallagher's assistant pro Lionel Taylor.

The opening round tees off at 7:15 Thursday.

The four-day event is free for spectators, courtesy of MyHusky app.

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