VICTORIA – Much like last week’s NAIA national golf championships, the Canadian Universty/College championship had its opening round shortened due to weather challenges. The four-day event, hosted May 29 to Jun. 1 at Tangle Creek Golf Club in Barrie, Ont. finished early but with the University of Victoria Vikes men in the lead with a score of 229 and four holes left to play. The women’s teams managed to finish all their rounds and the Vikes sit third with a team score of 248.
“I thought the course was playing tough with the wind up all day and there were quite a few really tricky pins out there,” said second-year Vike Jake Hamilton who finished +4 (59). “Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish today but hopefully we can finish strong tomorrow and carry the momentum into the second round.”
The Vikes men currently lead 9-over par after 14 holes with Manitoba and Queens on their tails. Recently named NAIA PING All-American Lawren Rowe was the top Vike on the day sitting tied for second overall with a -1 (54) score. Rowe trails tournament leader Eric Flockhart of Wilfrid Laurier by one stroke.
“The men started off pretty steady this afternoon in windy conditions,” said Vikes head coach Justin Clews. “I was really pleased with Jake’s outward nine holes, carding all pars on the front nine. Lawren played steady as usual and the other guys battled out there with some making some great birdies.”
“This course is scoreable but you have to position yourself well off the tee to attack the pins on the firm greens. Unfortunately, we still need to get one more hole in for 4 of the Vikes as play was suspended due to thunderstorms nearby. They all finish on a par 5 so hopefully we can make a few birdies early in the morning to finish off their rounds.”
When play was suspended at 5:46 p.m., Wilfrid Laurier’s Flockhart posted the lowest men’s score at -2 (69) thanks to three straight birdies to close out the round.
On the women’s side third year Hannah Diamond leads all Vikes as she is tied for seventh place with a +10 (82) score after 18 holes. Second year Quinn Fitzgerald finished +11 (83) to sit tied for 10th with teammate Laura Ferreira and Toronto’s Ana Peric.
“Wind definitely played a factor as most of the girls struggled a bit on their front nine scores,” described Clews of the Vikes, who sit 32-over par and two strokes back of second-placed Fraser Valley and 13 strokes back of leaders, UBC. “Unfortunately they made it difficult to post a sub 80 score after some shaky starts. However, most of them really fought back for the second nine and came in with some decent scores.”
“They all know they can come back tomorrow and post some good numbers and hopefully they can all start their rounds a little better and feed off that. The women are sitting in reachable distance of the leaders and I’m confident they can put in a good round tomorrow.”
Second-year Vike Nicole Gargarella rounded out the women’s roster and the Toronto native currently sits in 34th after a +21 (93) score on Day 1.
“The course we are playing is pretty demanding in terms of course management and you really have to be smart about where you want to be off the tee and coming into the greens,” described Fitzgerald after her opening round. “I got in to some tough spots on my first few holes today but turned it around for my second nine to play more consistently.”
The top finisher in the men’s and women’s division will get an exemption into their respective Canadian Amateur Championships and the top finishers in the men’s and women’s draws will qualify for the Summer Universiade Games, in Taipei, Taiwan, from Aug. 19-30.
The first round will resume tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. Second round tee times will begin at 8:30 a.m.
TOP-5 WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL
1. Kat Kennedy, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (35-37–72 E)
2. Sharon Park, University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (39-37–76 +4)
3. Winnie Hyun, University of British Columbia ThunderbirdS (39-40–79 +7)
4. Laura Upenieks, University of Toronto Varsity Blues (38-42–80 +8)
T5. Hannah Dirksen, University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (40-41–81 +9)
T5. Elanna Lachaine-DeMarchi University of Waterloo Warriors (40-41–81 +9)
TOP-5 WOMEN’S TEAM
1. University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (+19-F-+19-235)
2. University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (+30-F *-+30-246)
3. University of Victoria Vikes (+32-F*-+32-248)
4. University of Toronto Varsity Blues (+34-F-+34-250)
5. Université Laval Rouge et Or (+40-F-+40-256)
TOP-5 MEN’S TEAM
1. University of Victoria Vikes (+9-14-+9-229)
2. University of Manitoba Bisons (+11-9-+11-151)
3. University of Queen’s Gaels (+11-5-+11-91)
4. Humber College Hawks (+13-9-+13-153)
T5 Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks (+14-F-+14-298)
T5 Western University Mustangs (+14-13 *-+14-218)
TOP-5 MEN’S INDIVIDUAL
1. Eric Flockhart, Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks (38-31–69 -2)
T2. Lawren Rowe, University of Victoria Vikes (34-20–54 -1)
T2. Nick Quesnel, Laurentian University Voyageurs (19-0–19 -1)
4. Kevin Fawcett, University of Toronto Varsity Blues (34-37–71 E)
5. Evan Holmes, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (17-35–52 +1)