How a local golfer is rising up the professional ranks

Coquitlam’s A.J. Ewart is no stranger to success on the golf course. How will he fare against the game’s best?
Image supplied.

Deep inside the locker room, A.J. Ewart had his head down and tried to find his bearings. 

It was the beginning of June 2022, and Ewart, who grew up in Coquitlam, had travelled to compete in his first PGA tour event: the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto. 

Ewart, in the midst of a historic collegiate career at Barry University in Miami, Florida, would compete in the tournament as an amateur — meaning he wasn’t eligible to take home any prize money, nor considered a professional golfer on tour.


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Ahead of his senior season at Barry University, Ewart was named NCAA division two player of the year, tied the school record for most tournament wins in a single season, and finished in the top-15 in every tournament he entered. 

But in the Toronto locker room, days before he made his debut against professional golfers, Ewart hoped to have everything in check before he stepped onto the course for a practice round. 

He put his clubs in his bag. Sorted out his belongings in his locker. And was writing a text message on his phone when he felt a bump. 

“Oh, sorry,” he said, before looking up. 

Justin Thomas, a two-time major golf championship winner and former number one player in the world, looked back at him. 

He paused.

“Oh, uhh, sorry, sorry, Mr. Thomas,” Ewart said. 

Thomas, who would go on to finish third in the tournament later in the weekend, didn’t think anything of the bump and the two laughed it off. 

Before going their separate ways, Ewart had one request. 

“I got a photo with him,” Ewart said. 

“It’s weird. You’re competing against these guys, and I look up to these guys, but I’m playing against you this week — I probably shouldn’t [ask for a photo] but I asked for a photo.” 

One year later, after missing the cut at the 2022 Canadian Open, Ewart is striving to make it back to the PGA tour — this time as a professional.

Growing up with golf

Ewart has always been surrounded by golf. 

In his childhood, there was a chipping green in his backyard and clubs hanging around the house. His dad, Brad, was a former professional golfer and took Ewart to many local courses around the Tri-Cities. 

“I was always just surrounded by it,” Ewart said. “I grew up at Westwood Plateau and spent all day there in the summer.” 

Although he also played soccer in his youth, around the age of 12, he made the decision to seriously pursue golf.

“I just knew I was better at golf, I love soccer, but golf was something I could probably do at the next level,” he said. “Golf was something I was probably a little more naturally gifted at.” 

After attending Gleneagle secondary in Coquitlam, where he was a two-time provincial player of the year, he attended Barry University — hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow B.C. golfer Adam Svensson, who is now on the PGA tour and attended Barry in the early 2010s. 

He enjoyed his four years of college golf in South Florida, but kept an eye on the professional tour. 

“College golf is different, it’s a ton of fun and I’m forever thankful for it,” Ewart said. “It’s more of a team competition, so you’re worried about how the other guys are doing, on weeks off are they practicing? Are there distractions going on? There’s a lot going on.” 

Image supplied.

Navigating the ups and downs

Ewart wrapped up his collegiate career in May and attended the PGA Tour Canada’s qualifying school last month. 

Qualifying school is the first step towards earning a full-time PGA Tour membership card. 

If a player wins qualifying school, they receive permanent status on the PGA Tour Canada for one year. 

A second to 10th place finish automatically grants players entry into half of the year’s tournaments. Then, a player’s finish at those tournaments determines whether they have the status to continue playing the whole season.

“It’s pretty confusing,” Ewart said. “I just know good golf takes care of itself.” 

Ewart finished in a tie for ninth at qualifying school, which earned him a spot at the Royal Beach Victoria Open one week later — where he finished in 37th place. 

“I really enjoyed my time [in Victoria], I know I can make good golf and compete out here with these guys,” he said. 

One week later, however, Ewart missed the cut at a tour’s second tournament of the year in Saskatchewan. 

Although he felt like his game was solid for the tournament, the score wasn’t indicative of his play. But not getting too high or low after a tournament, Ewart said, is a vital key he’s hoping to learn as he strives to make the PGA Tour. 

“I wasn’t too down on myself, I felt like I played pretty good,” he said. “I just got to work over the next few days after the cut.” 

‘Just keep it fun’ 

Despite all of the accolades, and his chase for the PGA Tour, Ewart has maintained a genuine love for the game of golf. 

When he comes back home, for example, one of his first stops is to play at a local men’s night at the Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam. Along with the competitive journey, he enjoys the social aspect that also comes with the sport.

“Just to have the opportunity to go out there with the guys, just play, have fun, and kick back and relax is awesome,” he said. 

Moving forward, Ewart has goals to finish inside the top 10 or 20 on the PGA Tour Canada and reach the Korn Ferry Tour, a developmental tour that is one step below the PGA Tour. 

But he’s taking his professional journey one step at a time. 

When he was a kid, wandering throughout the driving range at Westwood Plateau’s executive golf course, he enjoyed every little detail of the sport — a belief, he hopes, that will help him overcome the ups and downs in his competitive life. 

“I remember a bucket of fries [at Westwood] used to be three bucks,” he said. “If I had three bucks in my pocket, I would be happy for the day.”


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