After a subpar opening round at the Canadian University/College Championship, the UFV Cascades men’s golf team found its mojo in Wednesday’s Round 2 and rocketed up the leaderboard.
At Cutten Fields in Guelph, Ont., the Cascades battled through windy conditions and a weather delay to tie the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks for the best round of the day – a combined 13 over par.
After starting the day in sixth place, UFV moved into a tie for third with the Victoria Vikes and the Toronto Varsity Blues at +29. The UBC Thunderbirds lead the way at +18, and Laurier is second at +24.
“Last night we had a great group talk about belief and that seemed to resonate,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said. “Today we were the best team in the country and we’re right back in it.”
Leading the UFV rally were Aaron Pauls and Connor O’Dell.
Pauls, the Cascades’ veteran star from Chilliwack, found himself in a tie for first place in the individual standings after making the turn at even par. His last nine holes of the day weren’t as kind – he played them in three over par. But he’s still within striking distance, tied for fourth place at +3, three strokes back of leader Eric Flockhart of Wilfred Laurier.
A top-three finish in the individual standings comes with a significant bonus – a spot on the Canadian men’s golf team for the 2015 Summer Universiade in Korea. Bertram has been selected as head coach of that squad.
“He’s playing great right now and his focus is razor-sharp,” Bertram said of Pauls, who was part of Team Canada for last summer’s World University Golf Championship in Switzerland. “I have no doubt he will be in the mix on Friday afternoon.”
Maple Ridge product O’Dell, a CCAA All-Canadian in the 2014 fall season, struggled in Tuesday’s opening round en route to an eight-over 78. But he was on fire on Wednesday, carding a two-under 68 – highlighted by a stretch of four straight birdies – that matched Flockhart for the low round of the day. He’s tied for 15th overall at +6.
“That was some amazing round,” Bertram enthused. “Shooting 68 in those conditions where the rest of the field was averaging 77 or 78 was just incredible. But that’s Connor. That’s how good he is.”
Other Cascades in the mix include Zach Olson (+9 for the tournament, T31), Cody Stewart (+13, T59) and Connor McLellan (+14, T65).
The tournament continues Thursday and Friday, and live scoring can be found at the following link: https://golfcanada.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/rcga15/event/rcga155/contest/6/leaderboard.htm