Highs and Lows From The Western Invitational
Western Mustangs Men's and Women's GolfJohn Urban
On Thursday, September 13th OUA university golfers flocked to the St. Thomas Golf and Country Club to participate in the Western Invitational. Eight men’s and seven women’s teams started competing with an 11am shotgun for their first taste of action since the Canadian University/College Golf Championships, which was held in Chilliwack, BC back in June. Last year, the Mustangs men’s team went undefeated the entire season winning the 2017 OUA title, finishing 14 strokes up on the competition, while the ladies side had to settle for 8th. It would be the men who finished 8th at the CUCGC, while the women’s team failed to make the cut.
Since July of 1909 the beautiful and majestic course, has been giving the most seasoned golfers headaches while testing their will. For instance, it held a four-round Ontario Men’s amateur this summer and only one golfer out of 160 managed to stay under par. Luscious green fairways closed in by a variety of trees, with well-placed bunkers and greens that play deceptively uneven while running quick proved to be a worthy challenge for the participants. A lot of history has taken place on the course: Mike Weir winning the 1992 Ontario Amateur Championship, Matt Graham winning the 2005 Ontario Junior Championship and Paul Simson capturing the 2010 Canadian Seniors Championship, a total of 86 university golfers looked to add their name to the history of the links.
It was a special day for Senior Tasha MacDonald, having a membership to the course placed high expectations on her performance and she exceeded all of them. She took the individual Gold Medal with the best score of 74 on the day, beating the Silver Medal winner Melanie Burgess from the University of Windsor by an incredible 5 stroke lead. Tasha’s teammates Jennifer Knox (84), Amanda Kerr (82) supported her individual gold performance, by helping her capture the team Gold Medal in the process with a team score of 240. Burgess’s day was good enough to get her team on the podium with a Silver Medal as well, but Western beat the Windsor Lancers women’s team handily by a 9-stroke lead. There was one scary moment for the women’s team, on hole #14 London, Ontario native Sarah Guerten slipped on the hill and banged her head off the ground. She would try to continue to play, but by forced with withdraw from the event and did not finish. Western had a second team of ladies: Riley Grogan (83), Lora Won (86), Alison Stark (88) and Divya Chawla (91) who put together an incredible team score of 257. That technically was good enough for third place, but the with two team's from the same not allowed on the podium, the Bronze Medal would end up going to the Waterloo Warriors with a 258 team score.
The men’s team came into the season not just as the defending OUA Champions, but winners of the 2017 Western Invitational at the same course. Unfortunately for Western no individual, or team as a whole came away with anything from the day. Senior player and team Captain Charles Fitzsimmons came into the action as the 2017 Early Bird Champion of the course, he had the best score for the purple and white shooting 74, the 4th best score of any individual. While a new face in Tyler Nagano also shot 74 for Western, albeit not on the main squad, he makes Head Coach Jim Waite’s job even harder, as the team looks to make final cuts by the weekend. The men’s main team comprised of Charles Fitzsimmons (74), Patrick Carlton (75), Mac Carter (77), Jack Bowery (79) and John Boncoddo (85) combined for a team score of 305. Placing the Mustangs just 2 strokes off the podium, with Laurier and Guelph, claiming Silver and Bronze, respectively, with matche scores of 303. The day belonged to the Waterloo Warriors men’s team, led by Tyson Turchanski (69) and Devin Bartlett (71) who grabbed Gold and Silver respectively as individuals, allowing Waterloo to take the team Gold Medal with a score of 296.
Both the ladies and gentlemen next play in the Brock Invitational on Sunday September 23rd at the Sawmill Golf Club in Fenwick, Ontario.