University of the Fraser Valley golfers Zach Olson and Hannah Dirksen staged breakthrough performances at the Kwantlen Eagles’ tournament on the weekend, sweeping the individual titles on behalf of the Cascades.
Playing under wet and windy conditions at Surrey’s Northview Golf and Country Club, UFV sophomore Olson was the only golfer in the men’s field to finish under par. The Strathmore, Alta. product authored rounds of 72 on Saturday and 71 on Sunday to finish at one-under, good for a three-stroke win over Steven Hayes of the Douglas Royals.
Dirksen, also a second-year Cascade, dominated the women’s division. The Mission product’s total score of 163 (82-81) was good for a seven-stroke margin over her closest pursuer, teammate Jennifer Kell, who had a great tournament in her own right.
It was the first career PacWest victory for both Olson and Dirksen, and both were subsequently named the PacWest golf athletes of the week.
“It was really windy, and for them to maintain composure and get good rounds in is really impressive,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram enthused.
“Hannah’s been on the verge of a breakthrough for the last year, and to see her go out and get a win in adverse conditions is going to do wonders for her confidence and bolster her role as a leader on the team.
“And Zach was close a couple of times last year, and to pick up his first PacWest win in his sophomore season is a great accomplishment for him. I’m hopeful that Zach’s win will be the spark the team needs as we move deeper into our season.”
Dirksen’s win and Kell’s runner-up result allowed the UFV women to take the team title at Northview – their combined score of 333 was nine strokes better than the UBC Okanagan Heat. UFV’s Ciara Melhus (98-91=189) finished seventh overall. The Cascades closed to within seven strokes of UBCO (671 to 678) in the cumulative season standings.
On the men’s side, the Cascades (603) finished second to the Camosun Chargers (594) on the weekend. The Chargers expanded their lead in the cumulative season standings to 26 strokes (1,174 to UFV’s 1,200), but the Cascades did manage to leapfrog UBCO to move from third overall to second.
UFV freshman Nathan Bahnman, who was not part of the Cascades’ five-man roster for the team competition, finished in solo fifth place with a two-round total of 149. Connor O’Dell (8th, 151), Connor McLellan (9th, 152), Ryan Graf (18th, 157) and Cody Stewart (T20, 159) joined forces with Olson in the team event.
“On the team side, it was really great to see the ladies play so well and get their first win and make up some ground in the team competition on UBCO,” Bertram said. “I think they’ve shown now that they can play with those ladies, and I think that belief is going to help them as we move into the second half of the conference season.
“For the men, moving up the standings to second place is a positive. We’ve still got some hard work to do as we come down the stretch and look towards our conference finals and nationals.”
This weekend, the Cascades head to Victoria for the third of four PacWest conference tourneys, hosted by Camosun at Bear Mountain.