Komoka, Ontario (Dan Kinvig) – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s golf team mounted a spirited defence of its Canadian University/College Championship, only to fall achingly shy of the podium on Friday.
The Cascades – winners of the men’s team title at last year’s Golf Canada-sanctioned national tourney by a whopping 17 strokes – entered Friday’s fourth and final round at FireRock Golf Club (Komoka, Ont.) in third place, just seven strokes in arrears of the front-running Western Mustangs. And their collective confidence was trending in the right direction, as they’d posted the best team score of the day (-8) on Thursday.
The final round, though, was not kind to the Cascades. Their team score regressed to +8, and they finished in fourth place overall at +7 for the week.
The UBC Thunderbirds rallied to win the men’s team competition. Starting the day in fourth place, the T-Birds combined for the low single-day team score of the tourney (-12) to draw even with the Western Mustangs at -11 for the week, then prevailed in a playoff. The Victoria Vikes (-5) took third place, and the Laval Rouge et Or (+8) were one stroke back of UFV in fifth.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t close it out today, but sometimes that’s just the way golf goes,” UFV head coach Chris Bertram said. “We expect to win every time we tee it up, but it’s just not always in the cards.
“On the bright side we’ve got a very talented group of players returning next year who will learn from this and be better next time.”
Wyatt Brook paced the Cascades over the course of the week, firing an even-par 72 on Friday to finish tied for 10th individually at -2. Daniel Campbell also carded an even-par round, finishing at +1 (T-14th). Zach Olson (+2, T-17th), Kyle Claggett (+6, T-30th) and Ben Whiton (+36, T-60th) rounded out the Cascades’ roster.
Western teammates Charles Fitzsimmons and Jackson Bowery required extra holes to decide the men’s individual crown – both finished tied at -8 through 72 holes, and Fitzsimmons claimed the title in a playoff.
UFV’s Emery Bardock competed as an individual on the women’s side, finishing 16th in a field of 51 at +28. Sarah Dunning of the Guelph Gryphons was the individual champ at +10. In the team event, UBC (+51) edged Laval (+52) by a single stroke to emerge victorious.
“Emery played really solidly from tee to green this week,” Bertram said. “If it weren’t for a cold putter, she could have easily been in contention.”