by Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
A.J. Ewart is doing a nice job of following in the footsteps of fellow British Columbian Adam Svensson at Barry University in south Florida.
Ewart hopes to follow Svensson all the way to the PGA TOUR, but he will be taking one detour. The 22-year-old Coquitlam native insists that, unlike Svensson, he won’t be leaving Barry early to chase his pro golf dream.
“I have to finish my degree or else my mom won’t be too happy with me,” Ewart says over the phone from Florida. “I have to get that done.”
The similarities between what Svensson did at Barry a few years ago and what Ewart is doing now are striking. Svensson won nine collegiate events before departing late in his junior year to turn pro.
Ewart, now in his junior year, just won his fourth title of the season and seventh of his collegiate career. His latest win moved Ewart to the top of the NCAA Division II individual golf rankings. He is a big reason why Barry is also the top-ranked team in Division II.
“To be honest with you I don’t really like to get caught up in the rankings,” Ewart says of being No. 1. “It’s nice to see, but at the end of the day the rankings only mean so much. You’re measured on how many tournaments and championships you win. We have bigger ambitions here at Barry and it’s nice to see the team ranked No. 1.”
Ewart seems to contend every time he tees it up at Barry. If he doesn’t win, he’s usually in the hunt. He credits longtime Barry coach Jimmy Stobs with helping him become a better player. “My coach has been a huge help,” he says. “We have really worked on just kind of playing boring golf, which means being more consistent. I’m really just trying to make a lot of pars and give myself opportunities for birdies, but not getting too aggressive.
“On days where the putts go in, I am able to go low. Then other days when they don’t go in I am still able to be right there. I have learned how to manage my game really well, which is letting me be more consistent.” Ewart acknowledges that Svensson’s success at Barry was a huge factor in his decision to go to Barry. Like Svensson, Ewart faced some challenges coming out of high school and finding the right fit. He had made a verbal commitment to Arizona State University but that fell through when the then golf coach left the school.
“I was kind of in a similar situation to Adam, I was kind of stuck on what to do,” Ewart says. “I was getting advice to come to Barry and I knew it worked out well for him, so I came down here. It’s great that he had success here and he went on to tour and is going great now. It’s exciting to know someone who was in a situation like me was able to make the most out of it, get to where he is now. Obviously, he is someone I look up to because we have been down a very similar path so I would definitely say it’s really encouraging to see.”
Ewart is majoring in communications with a minor in sports management. The balance between his golf and academics is challenging, especially as the team heads into the meat of its spring schedule with final exams fast approaching. “It’s hard at times, but you have to manage your time really well and I have done a good job at that. You just have to set your priorities and you will be fine.”
Ewart, a member of Golf Canada’s national amateur team, has especially enjoyed the team aspect of college golf. He and his teammates have their sights set on the NCAA Division II national championship tourney, which goes May 16-19 at TPC Michigan. “College golf has been everything I hoped it would be,” he says.
“Every day you go into practice, you go to workouts, your teammates are pushing you, you are pushing them. You have always got someone to play with. You go to class with these guys and they become like brothers, more than just teammates. It’s a nice bond to have. It’s been pretty cool to experience.” Ewart’s latest win came at the Bobcat Invitational in Eatonton, Ga., where he fired rounds of 65, 68 and 74 to win by one shot.
Barry’s next event is their home Battle at the Shores tournament in Miami Beach. Ewart won the event last year. “I love the golf course and my game feels good, so we’ll just go out and play and see what happens,” he says.
(This article was initially posted on the British Columbia Golf website. Used by permission.)