By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s golf team open their 2015-16 season with back-to-back tournaments across a span of five days Washington. The women begin in Olympia, Wash. with the St. Martin’s Fall Classic hosted at the Olympia Golf & Country Club, Oct. 9-10, before travelling to Bellingham, Wash. for the Western Washington Fall Invitational Oct. 12-13 at the Bellingham Golf Club. Both tournaments will see the athletes play 36 holes on Day 1 and 18 holes on the second and final day.
Fourth-year Vike Shannon Raina and third years Cadence Hellmann and Laura Ferreira are expected to lead the young Vikes that add rookies Quinn Fitzgerald and Nicole Gargarella.
A new season for the Vikes women’s golf program presents a lot of new faces, including the likes of Fitzgerald. Despite the new faces to the program, Vikes golf head coach Justin Clews is confident the program will begin to take some big strides this season.
“The season is really an unknown because we have added so many new girls,” said Clews, who graduated 2015 Canadian University/College Golf Champion Brynn Tomie. “There are a lot of new faces on the team, but I am very optimistic about their potential. Even though the team is very young, I am sure they are going to be as competitive as last year.”
The team graduated fifth-year Tomie, while fourth-year Michaela Abey, who has consumed all four years of NAIA eligibility, can still compete in the Canadian University/College Golf Championship hosted May 2016 by the Vikes but in Parksville at Morningstar Golf Course.
“Quinn is a strong player for a first year,” added Clews about the Calgary native. “She is a good ball striker, mature for her age and she minimizes her miss hits. She also has great overall athletic ability.”
Tournament competitors include Western Washington University, who will be competing at the St. Martin’s Fall Classic before hosting the Western Washington Fall Invitational only days later. Canadian counterparts the UBC Thunderbirds and Simon Fraser University will make the trip south as well.
“Being a Division 2 event, there is always strong competition,” said Clews. “I’m looking for our team to build and play stronger in Bellingham after getting the Olympia tournament under their belt. We want to build momentum throughout the season and it starts this weekend.”
Just two weeks ago, the Vikes men competed at the Olympia Golf Course for the men’s rendition of the St. Martin’s Fall Classic, so Clews is well aware of how the course can play out.
“Olympia is short but tight course and demands accuracy off the tee,” said Clews. “Both of these courses are similar to the courses we train on in Victoria.”
The Vikes will play practice rounds at the respective courses on Oct. 8 and 11, while competition will take place on Oct. 9-10 for the St. Martin’s Fall Classic and Oct. 12-13 for the Western Washington Invitational.
Women’s Golf Travelling Roster