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UFV Golf: Park, Bardock lead Cascades women to second place, men fourth at Battle at the Bear

Kelowna – Women’s Golf – Bardock lead Cascades women to second place.

A runner-up result for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s golf team highlighted the Cascade results at the Battle at the Bear tournament, hosted by UBC Okanagan over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

The Cascades got outstanding performances from Lucy Park and Emery Bardock at the Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear Course, on their way to a team score of +25. The left them trailing the victorious UBC Thunderbirds (+1), but well ahead of the Victoria Vikes (+39) and host UBCO Heat (+41).

The result was significant for the UFV squad, as they’d come in fourth at the Canada West championships last week, finishing behind both UBCO and UVic. And while they were obviously playing a different course, the fact that their team score over two rounds was 19 strokes better than at the CW championships was indicative of how much-improved their performance was.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the bounce-back,” Cascades women’s golf head coach Cody Stewart enthused. “Last week was frustrating, and everyone was certainly disappointed with how we did as a team overall. The way they responded to that disappointment was phenomenal. Everybody contributed, and everybody did a really good job.

“What we did this week, that’s what happens when our best players play like our best players. When you have Lucy and Emery clicking in the same round, it takes the stress off the rest of the roster.”

Indeed, Park and Bardock laid the foundation for the Cascades in Kelowna. During Sunday’s opening round, Bardock fired a one-over 73 – her low round of the season – to sit tied for third, with Park just one stroke back at 74. On Monday, Park carded her career-low round as a Cascade – an even-par 72 – while Bardock closed with a 76.

That left Park (+2 for the tournament) in fourth place individually, and Bardock (+5) in eighth. UBC’s Elizabeth Labbe (-5) was the women’s individual champ.

Alex Brunner shot back-to-back rounds of 80 to contribute to the UFV team score in the five-count-three format, while Coral Hamade (+21) and Ella Gifford (+35) rounded out the five-player roster for the team competition. Avery Biggar, competing as an individual, finished at +30.

“I feel like I’ve watched Lucy mature more and more with every round that we play,” Stewart marveled. “Today was another huge step in the right direction, absolutely massive. For her to shoot even par today, especially after a tough start, was outstanding. She really made the game easy for herself this week.

“Emery’s been working hard. Her putting’s been frustrating her for the better part of the season, but when her ball-striking is as good as it is, combined with some pretty good putting this weekend, it’s hard for her not to shoot a good score.”

Men’s GOLF: Armstrong excels as Cascades finish fourth

The Cascades men’s team, coming off a silver medal at the CW championships, were unable to match that sterling standard, finishing fourth in Kelowna.

UBC (-7) won the men’s team event, with Calgary and Victoria tying for second at +4. UFV was at +6, ahead of the fifth-place Manitoba Bisons (+10).

Sunday’s first round was the Cascades’ undoing, as they posted a team score of +7 which left them in fifth place. They wrapped up the event on a positive note with the low team score of Monday’s round (-1), but were unable to climb their way back into podium position.

“You typically have days over the course of a season where things don’t go well across five guys, and it’s just part of golf,” UFV men’s golf head coach Aaron Pauls said. “We hadn’t really had one of those this fall, but Day 1, that was it for us. There were a lot of sloppy things happening, and there were a lot of over-par scores.

“The second day, it was nice to shoot the lowest team score of the day. Now, we get to step away from tournament play for the winter and figure out how each one of us can get a little bit better, and see what we can do when spring comes around.”

Jacob Armstrong stepped up in a big way for the UFV squad, firing rounds of 70 and 71 to finish at -3 for the tournament, tied for third overall. He was three strokes back of Calgary’s Ethan Banks and UBC’s Mackenzie Bickell, who had matching scores of -6 through 36 holes; Banks took the individual title in a playoff.

“Jacob’s becoming a huge part of our team,” Pauls enthused. “His first two years . . . you knew he wasn’t going to shoot more than 76, and in team golf, that’s important. He was doing a really good job of that for us. But he’s moved up in our lineup to the point where he’s contributing heavily to those top scores and driving us up the leaderboard.

“He’s got this attitude of always trying to get a little bit better, and he’s doing that, and moving up in the lineup for us.”

UFV sophomore standout Jackson Jacob bounced back from a 77 on Sunday with a two-under 70 on Monday to finish at +3 for the tourney. Jacob Lucki (75-73) was at +4, and Hudson LaFayette (+9) and Ben Whiton (+10) rounded out the Cascade contingent.

For the UFV golf teams, the Battle at the Bear marked the conclusion of their fall schedule. They’ll return in the spring, building towards the 2022 Canadian University/College Championship.

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