VICTORIA – Cordova Bay Golf Course was in top conditions for the opening round of the annual Vikes Golf Shootout on Oct. 16. This year’s event serves dual purpose as it is a Canada West qualifier for the spring’s Canadian University/College national championship and also serves as an NAIA-sanctioned tournament.

The Vikes women are sitting atop the tournament standings with a 318 team score, 18 strokes ahead of second placed Arizona Christian and Corban University. The UBC Thunderbirds women, entered as individuals for the NAIA part of the tournament, are in first place for Canada West team qualification. Manitoba, Alberta, Lethbridge and UBC are all in the running for spots to Nationals and only the Top-3 teams will qualify.

“The girls hit it really well today but they didn’t putt very well,” said Justin Clews, Vikes head coach. “A lot of them had a lot more putts than they should have had so our scores should have been a little bit better. The scores weren’t indicative of how they hit the ball because they all hit it like they should have been mid-70’s.”

Vike Nicole Gargarella is at the top of the leaderboard with Corban’s Bethany Bullers and UBC’s Eunice Hong and Claire Emery – all with a 5-over-par, 77, after the opening round. A trio of Vikes are not far behind as Cadence Hellmann and Melanie Murchison are both tied for sixth with an 8-over-par, 88, wihle Rhiannon Jones is tied for ninth after shooting 81.

“They are right there heading in tomorrow and they are all capable of shooting in the 70s,” added Clews. “It was nice to see Nicole post a 77. Whenever they are shooting in the 70s it’s always a positive. You look and there are a couple of 80’s and an 81 so they are right there.”

The Vikes are in good shape heading in to their second and final round tomorrow, Oct. 17, at Cordova Bay Golf Course when two plaques will be given out – one for the Canada West champion and one for the Vikes Shootout title.

“It is a home course but it’s not like Uplands,” said Clews with respect to the lack of frequency the Vikes play the Cordova Bay course relative to Uplands where they play regularly. “So, there are still areas where we can improve – putting for sure. They need to practice more putting on the contoured greens.”

The Vikes will tee-off again at 8:15 a.m. on the 18-hole Bay course.

1 – Victoria (318)
T1 – Nicole Gargarella (77)
T6 – Cadence Hellmann (80)
T6 – Melanie Murchison (80)
T9 – Rhiannon Jones (81)
T9 – Hannah Diamond (81)
T20 – Katie Martens* (88)

*competing as an individual