The BC Rivalry Series wrapped up its fall schedule this week, with the University of the Fraser Valley men’s golf team finishing first overall.
The Cascades men finished second at their home course, Chilliwack Golf Club, on Wednesday, and tied for second with UBC on Thursday at Morgan Creek Golf Club in Surrey on Thursday. That leaves them with 17.5 aggregate points at the conclusion of eight single-day, 18-hole tournaments this fall, ahead of UBC (16.5) and UBC Okanagan (14).
On the women’s side, the Cascades finished second on Wednesday in Chilliwack, and third on Thursday at Morgan Creek. They close out the fall schedule in third place with 11.5 points, trailing UBC (21.5) and UBC Okanagan (15).
The series is set to resume in February, with another 12 single-day tournaments in the works.
“It was a really good fall for us,” Cascades men’s head coach Aaron Pauls said. “At the beginning of the semester, your goal is always to be in the lead. We’re ahead of UBC by a point and a couple points up on UBCO, and that’s where we want to be.”
On Wednesday, the Cascades men’s squad posted a solid team score of two under par, but the Thunderbirds had an outstanding -13 showing to take top spot with UBCO (+5) bringing up the rear. UFV’s best individual performances came from two golfers who weren’t designated as part of the five-player roster whose scores count towards the team total – Jackson Jacob fired a five-under 67 to tie for first with UBC’s Ethan de Graaf, and Jacob Lucki tied for third with a 68. Ben Whiton and Kyle Claggett fired matching two-under 70s to tie for seventh, and Cody Bailey (72), Jacob Armstrong (74) and Eli Greene (76) rounded out the UFV scores.
Thursday’s event at Morgan Creek was hotly contested, with UBCO (+16) edging UFV and UBC (both at +17) by a single stroke. On a day where no individual finished in red numbers, the Heat’s Ethan Hunt won the men’s individual with an even-par 72, and UFV’s Whiton continued his strong play by finishing T-2nd, one stroke back. Jacob (75, T-4th) and Claggett (77, T-9th) were both in the top 10, followed by Bailey (80), Lucki (83) and Greene (84).
“The last two days weren’t exactly what we were looking for,” Pauls acknowledged. “We’d played pretty well for the better part of both of those rounds, but we basically started bleeding shots from holes 16 to 18. We finished terribly as a group on Thursday, and that bumped us down from first place into a tie for last.”
On the women’s side, the Cascades notched a solid second-place finish at their home course on Wednesday – UBC led the way at +2, with UFV (+17) edging UBCO (+18). Lucy Park paced the Cascades with a three-over 75, tying for fourth individually, Alex Brunner was ninth (78), Emery Bardock tied for 10th (80), and Avery Biggar was 15th (90). UBC’s Sonja Tang was the individual winner on the strength of a two-under 70.
UBC Okanagan (+11) emerged victorious on Thursday at Morgan Creek, ahead of UBC (+15) and UFV (+21). UBC’s Esther Lee (75) won the individual race, with Brunner (78, T-4th) as the top Cascade followed by Park (80, T-8th), Bardock (82, 12th), and Biggar (109, 14th).
Three of the four women on the Cascades’ roster are rookies, and head coach Cody Stewart said he saw a great deal of growth over the course of the semester.
“Compared to where we were at the beginning, we’ve made massive strides to get closer to where I see this team,” said Stewart, whose squad posted one tie for first and two runner-up finishes at fall tourneys. “What I liked about Wednesday was, we didn’t have our best stuff, but the girls were able to grind out some solid scores. In the first couple weeks, if we didn’t have our best stuff, we’d be in the mid-80s.
“On Thursday, we played really well for 12 or 13 holes, but we just couldn’t get those scores to the clubhouse. That’s part of being a young team. But I’m proud of how far we’ve come over the past four weeks, and I’m looking forward to the offseason. I think we’re going to be coming out strong in February when this series restarts.”
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