The University of the Fraser Valley golf program has been knocking on the door at the national championships for the better part of a decade.
Last week, they essentially kicked the door in.
The Cascades men’s and women’s teams both won gold in wire-to-wire fashion at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament at the Royal Quebec Golf Club in Quebec City. Both teams were coming off PacWest titles two weeks prior.
“I don’t know that I have the words just yet,” UFV head coach Chris Bertram marveled, pondering his program’s first two CCAA titles. “It’s pretty amazing.
“I felt if we went there and played the way we were capable of playing, we had a really good chance on both the men’s and women’s side. And we did. We played really well, and we had a few things go our way.”
The Cascades women, in their first year as a varsity program, won in decisive fashion – they shot a combined three-day score of 461, 24 strokes better than silver medalist St. Clair College. UFV’s Jen Woods, with a three-day total of 225, was second in the individual standings, with teammate Dani Shap (236) right behind her in third.
“They just did what they’ve been doing all year, which is go out and dominate,” Bertam said. “They haven’t really been pressed all year, and yet they kept getting better.”
It was a far different story for the UFV men – they had to play giant-killer vs. Humber College of Toronto, which had won national gold 10 times in the previous 12 years.
The Cascades men, though, are a national power in their own right – they had climbed the CCAA podium four times over the previous six years, winning a silver and three bronzes. They finally added a gold to their resumé, edging Humber by 12 strokes (863 to 875) over the three rounds.
Bertram lauded the play and leadership of veterans Aaron Pauls (three-day score of 211) and Darren Whitehouse (212), who finished second and third, respectively, in the individual standings.
“You could really see that they felt this was going to be their time,” said Bertram, who was named national golf coach of the year at the CCAA banquet earlier in the week. “They just put the team on their backs and carried us through to the finish.
“We knew what we were up against – Humber has been ruling the Canadian collegiate golf landscape,” he added. “This year, it was a matter of our best players playing their best, and they did.”