The University of the Fraser Valley golf teams came up just shy of the medal podium on Friday at the PING CCAA Golf National Championships.
The Cascades were in the hunt after Thursday’s second round at Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, PEI – the women were in third place, and the men were tied for fourth. But the UFV squads struggled in extremely windy, rainy conditions on Friday, and will come home without a CCAA medal for the first time since 2012.
The No. 1-ranked Cascades women’s squad finished just two strokes out of the medals with a cumulative score of 487 over the 54-hole event. The Georgian Grizzlies (467), Humber Hawks (481) and Champlain St. Lawrence Lions (485) claimed the podium positions; UFV’s fourth-place finish matched last season’s result at nationals.
Individually, two-time CCAA All-Canadian Hannah Dirksen was the top Cascade – she tied for seventh overall at +23 for the tournament. Fellow All-Canadian Sharon Park was 10th (+32) and Jennifer Kell was 20th (+52). Georgian’s Addison Wallwin was the women’s individual champ at +14.
“Two shots out of a medal hurts, for sure,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said, reflecting on the women’s team’s performance. “But they grinded hard today in the wind and rain. They’ve learned a lot this week and they’ll be hungry to get back here for redemption.”
The No. 2-ranked Cascades men faded from contention after posting a collective score of 323 on Friday – 30 strokes higher than their effort on Thursday in more favourable conditions. They ended up in ninth place with 908 total strokes. The Niagara College Knights (879) won the gold, followed by the Cégep André-Laurendeau Boomerang (880) and the UNB Varsity Reds (890).
Halen Davis finished as the top Cascade in the individual race, tying for eighth at +4 for the tourney. Cole Briggs (T28, +11), Connor O’Dell (T30, +12), Zach Olson (T43, +17) and Nathan Bahnman (T54, +22) rounded out the UFV contingent. Niagara’s Josiah Dixon won the individual gold in a playoff, after finishing tied with André-Laurendeau’s Marc-Olivier Plasse at -5 through 54 holes.
“I guess you could say it was a worst-case scenario kind of day,” Bertram said. “The conditions were brutal, and we simply didn’t respond well.
“The good news is we will learn from this, and come back better next time.”