Smarter approach carries Svensson to the top

University is a place for learning and South Surrey’s Adam Svensson is at the head of his class at Florida’s Barry University.

The Earl Marriott grad has been ripping up the golf courses of the southern United States, helping the Barry Buccaneers to the number one ranking among NCAA Div. II schools.

Svensson is a big part of the Buccaneers’ success. In 10 tournaments this year, Svensson has finished in the top five nine times including a Div. II record seven wins, the most recent of which came in the Sunshine State Conference championships last week.

In his first semester at Barry last spring, Svensson established a school record as the only player to finish the season averaging under-par – 71.2 average – for the year. He also won the Phil Mickelson award as the top freshman golfer among NCAA Div. II schools. Despite all of those positive results, Svensson never won a tournament as a freshman.

That gap in the resumé was corrected quickly in his sophomore season and the wins have been piling up ever since.

“I’m not too surprised,” Svensson said by phone from Miami. “I’ve been working really hard at a lot of different things to improve my game. I knew that if I did that, then I would start winning.

“The biggest difference between last year and this year is I’m playing smarter golf now. I’m not making as many bogeys and I’m not playing as aggressively. I guess it’s just a maturing process for me and I’m a lot more consistent.”

Smart golf in this case has less to do with book knowledge and more about working the course to his advantage. Barry golf coach Jimmy Stobs worked with Svensson to remove a lot of the risk from his game, focusing instead on taking advantage of the golf course on holes that play to the sophomore’s strengths.

With a one-stroke lead a year ago, Svensson would take risks in an attempt to push his advantage to two or three strokes. Today, he will instead play safe and go for par, putting pressure on the golfers who are pursuing him.

“Playing smarter golf makes the game more like chess,” Svensson said. “It’s controlling where you place your ball, where your misses are and stuff like that. Sometimes playing safe and laying up on long holes works better for me. It’s all about reducing the number of bogeys and right now, I’m number one or two in fewest bogeys. For me, that comes from being more conservative off the tee and my approaches to the green.

“I used to like to push it and take risks so it wasn’t easy to change. Once I tried it in a tournament, though, it was stress-free golf. It’s more relaxing to play that way and it isn’t stressful. I can just play without worrying about anything. Everybody is trying to birdie every hole and I’m just picking my spots where I need to birdie and find pars.”

In the first tournament Svensson tried the new approach he won the event by 11 strokes. Needless to say, he didn’t need much more convincing.

Svensson has experienced streaks of success in the past. As a Grade 10 in 2010, he went on a six-week tear where he won the B.C. junior and senior amateur titles as well as the Callaway World Juniors in San Diego.

The difference between that streak and Svensson’s current domination on the college circuit is his consistency. In 2010, his run of tournament wins came over a six-week span. Svensson’s current run of success began six months ago and shows no signs of letting up.

“It’s hard to remember what that was like but right now, I think I’m playing better golf than I did in 2010,” he said. “The game seems easier and less stressful for me now. Back then I got away with some bad habits here and there, but those kinds of things don’t pay off in the long run.”

With his seven tournament wins, Svensson is a near-lock to win the Jack Nicklaus award as the top player in NCAA Div. II golf. Svensson is also a strong candidate for the Ben Hogan award as best college golfer in the NCAA regardless of division. Svensson is currently ranked first in the overall standings.

Those awards are secondary to Svensson’s goals of posting wins in his final two tournaments of the season – the super regional and the national finals – and helping Barry claim the national team title.

After that, he plans to return to Surrey for the summer with hopes of playing in the Canadian Open and the U.S. Amateur tournaments.

“I think I’m more mature now,” Svensson said. “I have more experience and I’m practicing properly, putting more time into my game. I’m having a lot of fun.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Do you have someone you would like to thank? Or maybe something to get off your chest? Email your rose or rotten tomato to
Roses and Rotten Tomatoes (Oct. 22, 2020)

Our weekly collection of compliments and complaints sent in by readers

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Diamond School in Surrey reporting COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
8 scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

Most Read