Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig) – Two years after winning the inaugural Canada West championship, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s golf team is finally set to launch its title defence.
The Cascades men won the 2019 CW crown in dominant fashion, but the conference championship was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Yet despite some roster turnover, the Cascades showed their quality in limited action in 2020, finishing first in the BC Rivalry Series.
Head coach Aaron Pauls’ squad opens its fall schedule this weekend, as they travel to the Edmonton area for the Bears and Pandas Golf Tournament (Sunday/Monday, Sept. 12-13, Northern Bear Golf Course).
“I think that one of the things that separates our program is the mentality we have as a group,” Pauls said. “It’s been around for a while now. We’re a program that’s smaller than some others that we compete against at national championships, but our goals are always to perform our best at those events, and see what happens.”
Leading the way for the Cascades this season is rising sophomore Jackson Jacob, who was outstanding in the BC Rivalry Series last fall – he set a new team record for lowest single-round score (62 at Northview’s Ridge course) and finished second overall in the individual order of merit.
“I don’t know that I’m looking for anything more than what he was giving us last year – just bringing that consistency to the course every day,” Pauls said of Jacob. “The scores aren’t always going to be identical, but you can control the preparation you do and the mentality you carry around the golf course. If he continues to grow in those areas, he’ll be a force.”
The Cascades had two other returnees – Ben Whiton (fifth) and Jacob Armstrong (ninth) – rank top-10 in the BCRS order of merit last fall, and both are coming off strong spring/summer performances. Armstrong finished third at the Manitoba Men’s Amateur, while Whiton won the men’s club championship at Richmond Country Club.
Fellow returnees Jacob Lucki and Eli Greene both had strong moments on the BCRS last fall, with Greene tying for first at the UBC Okanagan event, and newcomer Hudson LaFayette turned in some solid results over the summer and will push for a roster spot on a week-to-week basis.
“One of the things that have been really positive is, guys have been willing to step into new roles, and it’s been great for our team,” Pauls noted. I’ve been really excited about that.”
Following this weekend’s opener in Alberta, the UFV squad returns to host the Cascades Invitational Sept. 20 and 21 at Chilliwack Golf Club, which will launch them into the Canada West championships (Oct. 4-5, Squamish Valley Golf Club), the UBC Okanagan Invitational (Oct. 10-11) and the Canadian University/College Championship (Oct. 19-22, location TBA).