The University of the Fraser Valley men’s golf team, playing in the program’s first-ever NCAA Division I tournament, finished 14th overall at the Seattle University Redhawk Invitational.
The event was composed of 36 holes on Monday, April 2 and 18 holes Tuesday, April 3 at Chambers Bay, located southwest of Tacoma, Wash. Chambers Bay was the host site of the 2015 U.S. Open.
The Cascades acquitted themselves very well on Day 1 – they were tied for seventh place in the 17-team field through 36 holes, with a combined total of 606 strokes (+38). That left them just six strokes back of third place.
The UFV squad was unable to mount a podium push during Tuesday’s final round, though. It was a collective struggle for the Cascades as they posted a score of 312 to slide to 14th overall at 66 over par.
The San Francisco Dons won the tournament in decisive fashion, finishing at +16 to outdistance the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (+29) and the George Washington Colonials (+39). The only other Canadian team in the field, the UBC Thunderbirds, were 17th (+89).
The Cascades had played in tourneys with NCAA Div. I teams before, but this was their first event hosted by a Div. I program featuring a full field of Div. I teams.
“It was pretty exciting to play ourselves into contention at an event like this,” UFV head coach Chris Bertram said.
“Even though we didn’t close it out the way we’ve been doing of late, it was still an amazing experience for the players. As coaches, we’ve been telling them they are as good as any team out there – including the NCAA. But now that they’ve experienced it first hand, the belief they have in themselves is only going to go up. I think this could be a real game-changer for our program.”
Connor O’Dell was the Cascades’ top individual finisher – he carded rounds of 72, 74 and 77 to close the tourney at 10 over par, tied for 12th place.
Daniel Campbell (+13, T-29th place), Halen Davis (+19, T-55), Kyle Claggett (+26, T-73) and Ben Whiton (+29, T-79) rounded out the Cascades’ individual scores.