Park, UFV women’s golf win at home

The Cascades Zach Olson swings away during the UFV Invitational at Ledgeview last weekend.

The Cascades Zach Olson swings away during the UFV Invitational at Ledgeview last weekend.

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s golf team opened the PacWest season with a home tournament win at the UFV Invitational, while the men’s team finished third overall.

The event, held Saturday and Sunday at Ledgeview Golf Club in Abbotsford, was highlighted by a battle between Cascades teammates Sharon Park and Hannah Dirksen for the women’s individual title.

Park was two strokes up on Dirksen after Saturday’s opening round, but Dirksen rallied to take a one-stroke lead heading to the par-five 18th hole on Sunday. Park reached the green in two, with a 20-foot putt left for eagle, and Dirksen knocked her third shot to within five feet. Park, a rookie out of Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Secondary, nearly holed her eagle putt and tapped in for birdie, and secured her first PacWest tourney win when Dirksen missed her birdie attempt and ended up three-putting.

The Cascades claimed the top three spots in the women’s individual standings, courtesy Park (rounds of 78 and 74 for a total of 152), Dirksen (153 – 80/73) and Jennifer Kell (162 -83/79). Ciara Melhus (170 – 84/86) finished sixth, as a team, the Cascades combined for 310 strokes to defeat UBC Okanagan (328).

“To have our freshman come in (Park) and get her first win as a Cascade is huge,” said Cascades coach Chris Bertram. “I think it shows a lot about how talented she is. Gritty performance by Hannah today to try to claw it back.

“We’re playing out here for team titles, and they were happy to grab a team win. I think it shows PacWest and the rest of the country that we’ve got a team that’s to be reckoned with going forward towards nationals.”

The men’s team competition couldn’t have been any closer. Just two stokes separated first place from third, as the Vancouver Island University Mariners (589) edged the Camosun Chargers (590) and the host Cascades (591).

VIU’s Dallas Jones (139 – 68/71) won the individual men’s title. Top UFV performers were Zach Olson (144 – 71/73) and Nick Guenther (145 – 69/76).

Halen Davis (148), Nathan Bahnman (149), Kaleb Fisher (150), Connor O’Dell (155) and Cole Briggs (157) rounded out the UFV contingent.

“As usual, PacWest men’s golf is going to be tight,” Bertram said. “Two shots is a bit hard to swallow on our home course – I feel like we might have let one slip away there. But in the big picture, we’re down two strokes in a long team golf tournament, and we’re right in it. It’s basically a three-way tie for first at this point.”

PacWest Tournament No. 2, the UBC Okanagan Invitational, runs next Saturday and Sunday at Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna.