Besides learning how to drive on the other side of the road, Vernon’s Brady Stead’s United Kingdom tutorial also includes learning to play golf in the wind.
And that’s pretty much become routine for the lefty, a graduate of the Vernon Golf and Country Club’s junior program and two-time Vernon city junior champion. He’s going to have to learn to battle the breezes as he gets set to open his 2018 PGA Europro Tour season.
“It’s windy every day here,” said Stead, 24, from Dorchester, England, his father Dave’s childhood home, two hours from London on the English Channel, where Stead is staying with family as he prepares for golf life in Europe.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve been learning to play with the wind.”
A graduate of Vernon Secondary and Victoria’s Camosun College, Stead was the captain of the Camosun Chargers’ golf team. He helped the program have nine medal finishes and led the Chargers to the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) provincial and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national championships in his final season.
In Stead’s last two years in Victoria, he was PACWEST player of the year, first-team all-star and CCAA all-Canadian, national scholar-athlete, national all-star and athlete of the week. He graduated Camosun with a degree in business marketing.
In 2016, Stead went on to win three amateur events, including the Mount Brenton Amateur, Storey Creek Amateur, and the Vancouver Open Amateur Championships. On the weekend in Vancouver, he tied the 2017 Valspar Champion (PGA Tour) and Presidents Cup Representative (Team World), Adam Hadwin, shooting 6-under-par at Pagoda Ridge.
His dad was a successful high-level amateur in England and always hinted to his son to give England a try.
So Stead, who worked at Victoria’s Royal Colwood course over the winter, honing his game, listened and flew over the pond to play on pro tours such as PGA Europro Tour, the Jamega Tour, and the TP Tour, with the goal of gaining European Tour status by the end of 2018.
“Right now I’m gearing up for the PGA Europro Tour season which is an equivalent to PGA Tour Canada here,” said Stead. “I received a Category 14 at Q (qualifying) school which should get me into the majority of the events, as well as playing qualifiers for the Challenge Tour (web.com tour equivalent), European tour Q school in the fall, and British Open qualifying (in June).”
In the first phase of PGA Europro Tour qualifying, Stead shot a round of 71 at Mannings Heath Golf Club in Horsham to tie for 16th and move to the second phase. At Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxford, Stead missed the cut but got Category 14 status.
He teed off in the TP Tour’s Princes Hauts de France St. Omer Challenge tour qualifier in Kent, finishing in a tie for 35th in a field of 119 with a round of 1-under 71. Stead then played the Jamega Pro Golf Tour stop at the Studley Wood
Golf Club in Oxfordshire, finishing tied for 49th at 4-over with rounds of 76 and 74.
His college coach at Camosun, John Randle, a Canadian Tour member from 1991 to 2008, believes Stead has the talent to be a successful pro.
“His work ethic and drive to be exceptional are greater than anyone I’ve ever coached,” said Randle. “There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll make it as a professional and I suggest anyone looking to invest in a bright future should jump on board now.”
Ah yes. Sponsors. Stead is looking for sponsors to help with his pro dreams. Anybody interested in sponsoring Stead can contact him through his website, bradystead.com.
Learning to play in the wind; learning to drive on the left side of the road; living with family overseas; it’s a dream come true for a kid who learned to play the game in Vernon. Stead encourages all junior golfers to follow their dreams.
“I hope I can continue to inspire junior golfers back home who want to play competitively,” said Stead. “I’m seeing some pretty amazing places these days and it wouldn’t have been without the local golf clubs back home and this sport that I love so much.”
Last August, John Shin of Northview (Surrey) endured in a thrilling finish to capture the TaylorMade & Adidas Golf PGA of BC Championship presented by Axis Insurance Managers.
After carding a 4-under-par round of 68 to reach 3-under for the 36-hole championship, Shin went on to defeat Stead on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to secure the title at Capilano Golf & Country Club. Stead pocketed $4,200.