The University of the Fraser Valley golf program made a major trophy haul on Sunday as the PacWest season reached its conclusion at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville, B.C.
At the VIU Invitational – the fourth of four PacWest conference tournaments – the Cascades’ Halen Davis and Sharon Park earned individual victories, finishing atop the men’s and women’s standings, respectively.
In the bigger picture, those individual exploits helped pave the way for significant team accomplishments.
Park, Cascades women sweep PacWest titles
The Cascades women’s squad clinched the conference championship for the third time in four seasons, finishing 59 strokes ahead of the UBC Okanagan Heat (1,288 strokes to 1,347) in the aggregate standings through four tourneys.
UFV’s depth shone through as they swept all three PacWest women’s all-star spots for the first time in team history. Park, a rookie out of Fleetwood Park Secondary in Surrey, B.C., took the overall individual title after winning three of four events and amassing 638 strokes. Teammates Hannah Dirksen (656 strokes) and Jennifer Kell (673) finished second and third overall.
“The women’s team continued doing what they’ve been doing all year, and that’s win,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said. “The depth that we have on our women’s team is phenomenal. Our defending PacWest champion (Dirksen) didn’t win a tournament this season but still finished second overall, and two of her teammates (Park and Kell) won individual tourneys. It puts us in a great spot going into nationals.”
The PING CCAA Golf National Championships run Oct. 19-21 at Fox Meadow Golf Course in Charlottetown, PEI.
UFV men’s squad wins silver
On the men’s side, the Cascades took PacWest silver, finishing behind the Camosun Chargers for the second straight year. UFV combined for 2,369 strokes over the course of the season, 22 back of Camosun (2,347).
Davis, a first-year Cascade from Stanwood, Wash., provided a major highlight on the weekend, shooting 69 on Saturday and 71 on Sunday to finish three strokes clear of a trio of opponents. The tourney win enabled Davis to leap from seventh to fifth in the overall individual standings (583 cumulative strokes) and claim one of five PacWest all-star spots.
Zach Olson (585 strokes) finished seventh overall, two strokes back of Davis, while Connor O’Dell (601) was 11th and Kaleb Fisher (610) tied for 13th.
“We didn’t reach our ultimate goal, which was to win the conference, but we had some very positive things happen this weekend,” Bertram said. “Halen had his best tournament of the fall so far and got his first win as a Cascade, which was great. From the team perspective, we’ve still got a bit of work to do, one through five – we still need to tighten things up. But I’m seeing some really good signs. We have two weeks to prepare (for nationals), and I don’t think we’ve peaked in terms of our results.”
Bertram named PacWest coach of the year
Bertram brought home some hardware of his own, as he was voted the PacWest coach of the year.
It’s the fifth time Bertram has won the conference award – he previously won it in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He’ll now be up for the CCAA national coach of the year award, an accolade he’s won twice before (2013 and 2014).
In addition to the myriad team accomplishments this season listed above, Bertram has the Cascades men’s and women’s squads both ranked No. 2 in the most recent CCAA national rankings.
“I really need to give a ton of credit to (assistant coach) Jennifer Greggain,” Bertram said. “She’s been absolutely essential in the success of our team, in particular our women’s team. She’s the one who’s out there on the course with them most days and doing that hard work, and she’s a tremendous asset to our program. I owe at least half of this award to her.
“For myself personally, it’s an honour because it’s voted on by your fellow coaches. I have a lot of respect for the coaches in our conference, and I’m really proud to receive the award.”