‘Birds pull off championship double for second straight year

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BARRIE, Ont.Kat Kennedy went wire-to-wire to lead the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to their second consecutive Canadian University/College Championship.

The Thunderbirds dominated the field through all four rounds of the tournament. Heading to the final day they sat 41 strokes ahead, and on Thursday they cruised through their final round and finished 70 over for the tournament to successfully defend their 2016 title.

Leading the way for the University of British Columbia was defending champion Kat Kennedy who led all four rounds to capture medalist honors. Her final-round 78 was the lowest of anyone in the women’s draw and helped her finish 14 over par for the tournament, 15 strokes ahead of field.

“It feels amazing to end my last tournament of my university career on a high note and with a great team,” she said, after she sank her final putt. “It was tough out there today. This was the most wind we’ve had all week, but we just tried to play calm and steady and play our game.”

Kennedy’s teammates Winnie Hyun and Avril Li shot 81 and 86 respectively in the tournament’s final round.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the University of Victoria Vikes were deadlocked heading into Thursday, but the Varsity Blues prevailed after their 41-over-par 257 locked them into second place, 53 strokes behind the Thunderbirds. The Vikes ended up third, 128 over par for the tournament.

Varsity Blues’ Laura Upenieks carded a final-round 84 to bring her total score to 29 over, while Sharon Park of the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades finished at 30 over to round out the top three.

The top finishers in the men’s and women’s division will get an exemption into their respective Canadian Amateur Championships, and the top three finishers in the men’s and women’s draws will qualify for the Summer Universiade Games, in Chinese Taipei, Taiwan, from Aug. 19-30.

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