The UFV Cascades golf teams were still dreaming of repeating as national champions on Friday morning, but their aspirations weren’t given a chance to materialize after officials cancelled the final round of the three day PING CCAA Golf National Championships due to bad weather.
The Cascades began the tournament in Quebec City on Wednesday ranked as the top men’s and women’s teams in the nation after winning both PacWest championships, but quickly fell behind other programs in the first round. In the final standings (which were calculated based on the first two rounds), the Cascades men achieved bronze, while the women found silver. While these accomplishments are still impressive by any standard, they represent half of all the times the two teams have not topped the podium over the past two seasons.
According to UFV coach Chris Bertram, the shortening of the competition from 54 holes to 36 was an unfortunate setback for the Cascades, especially on the men’s side where UFV trailed the eventual champions, the Holland College Hurricanes, by only six shots.
“We go into a national championship preparing for a three day battle,” said Bertram. “We were six shots back going into that final day, which in team golf is only one or two holes that go our way. We’ve got five players on the golf course and all we’ve got to do is make up six shots … We were chasing down some schools that hadn’t been in that position before and our players were really excited about the challenge and possibility of coming back.”
Bertram, who is also the 2014 CCAA Coach of the Year, said that the fateful decision to cancel the final round was made at 10 a.m., and the rain stopped at 11 a.m. The Cascades went on to play a casual round of golf in sunshine later that afternoon.
The Cascades women, who entered the season without 2013 PacWest Women’s Golf Player of the Year Dani Shap, showed remarkable quality in their journey to silver. The three-woman team of Jen Woods, Kelley Dalzell, and Natasha Mackenzie “really stepped up” according to Bertram. “I take my hat off to those three and how they performed in securing their conference championship and eventually a silver medal at nationals,” he said.
Jen Woods led the way for the Cascades women, finishing sixth in the individual standings at 14 over after carding rounds of 79 and 81. Kelley Dalzell (80-83) was right behind her in seventh place at 17 over, while Natasha Mackenzie (93-83) was 19th at 31 over.
The standings were based on Woods and Dalzell’s combined score of 31 over which placed UFV nine strokes back of the Champlain St. Lawrence Lions, the tournament host squad.
On the men’s side, Aaron Pauls was the top Cascade, tying for seventh place at -1 for the tourney with rounds of 69 and 74 on his scorecard. Kaleb Fisher (75-71) was tied for 13th at 2 over, while Simon Blaker (74-74) was tied for 17th at 4 over.
The UFV men collectively finished at 7 over, trailing the Holland College Hurricanes (+1) and the Camosun Chargers (+4).
While coach Betram wishes that his teams could have played a third round, he’s very proud of what is once again a great result for his players
“In the long run and in the big picture we have to just accept the fact that finishing third for the guys is still a great accomplishment and they should be proud of that, and for the women getting a silver medal is great. It just goes to show where we are in this program that getting a medal and just getting on the podium isn’t what we’re after. We’re going there to win.”
The championship was played at the Club de Golf Lorette in Quebec City.