by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
According to a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) media release, the 2017 PING CCAA Golf National Championships will be held October 17-20, 2017 at "The Royal Ashburn Golf Club (located in Whitby, Ontario) which opened in 1962 as an 18-hole facility, and has since developed into a world-class facility, ranked among the Top 50 public golf courses in Canada."
That gives the Red Deer Kings and University of Alberta Augustana Vikings men's golf teams and the MacEwan University Griffins and Medicine Hat Rattlers women's golf teams, just a little over two weeks to prepare.
The four schools advance from the 2017 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) golf championships which concluded yesterday at the RedTail Landing Golf Club at Nisku, Alberta.
Prior to the two-day 36-hole event, RedTail Landing Golf Club golf pro Joshua Davison stated: "Wind is always the key factor. Our fairways are quite generous and wide but when you miss…that is where you are going to get into the fescue (grass) which is tall and wispy. There are also some length issues which make the course awesome. If the wind is light, the players will light it up, if the wind blows, it will be the courses biggest defense."
Day 1 Saturday September 30, 2017 saw Mother Nature cooperating, with the best men's score a -1 by Red Deer Kings' Logan Hill.
Day 2 Sunday October 1, 2017 the wind factor kicked in with Griffins' Les Fisher +3 as the top score and an overall difference of 147 more strokes for the 36-player men's field.
The Kings men's team total 642 which was seven better than Vikings 649.
|Michael Harrison, UAA Golfer, 2017 Men's Invidual Golf Champion|
Vikings' Michael Harrison would earn the men's individual crown with a final 77-76 for 153.
Fisher was second at 79-75 for 154 and Griffins' Dakota Smith with a bronze 78 -78 for 156.
First-day leader Hill would finish fifth after shooting 88 Sunday for a 159 total.
"As it did for a lot of players…the weather got in his (Hill) head and he just leaked oil and he couldn't get it done," said Red Deer coach Scott Bergdahl. "Today the weather was a factor. You couldn't have the control of your shot and the putting was difficult and he missed some short putts and that can get into your head a bit."
Of preparing his men's golf team for the 2017 PING CCAA Golf National Championships, Bergdahl said: "You just have to keep doing what you have been doing and stick to your game plan. At the end of the day we have a skilled team right through. Individuals have to keep working on certain things to keep getting better."
|RDC Men's Golf Team, 2017 ACAC Men's Golf Team Champions|
This is the Kings third ACAC Men's Golf banner.
Vikings' Harrison is the third golfer from the Camrose school to claim top ACAC men's golf bragging right with Braxton Fox in 2015 and Brian McKinley in 1975.
Red Deer Queens' Shaye Leidenius totaled an impressive 166 (84-82) while cousins Kassidy Turcotte, Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder and Griffins' Hailey Turcotte, came into the club house at 175 (85-90) and 176 (90-86) respectively.
Although not qualifying for team competition, Leidenius and Kassidy Turcotte, still have the opportunity to test the Royal Ashburn Golf Club links depending on the CCAA selection field, which is based on the other CCAA conferences golf championship results.
"It would be nice to see both Shaye and Kassidy in there," said Medicine Hat Rattlers coach Trevor Moore. "Both are quality players."
The last Queens player to win the ACAC women's title was Caitlin Kelliher in 2009.
|Shaye Leidenius, Red Deer College, 2017 ACAC Women's Individual Golf Champion|
Leidenius had two birdies and 15 pars while Kassidy Turcotte made her presence felt with the only eagle of the weekend, shooting a three on No. 2.
Griffins co-coach Jodi Campbell knew he had a powerful women's team coming into the weekend as in a preview story he said; "This is one of the strongest (women's) team we have had in a long time. There is no question that they all can contribute on any day. With the season so short, you have to have the momentum and they do."
With top Griffins players Hailey Turcotte, 3rd, 176; Nicole Schultz, 4th, 17; Elizabeth Stewart, 5th, 179; Daniela Donnelly, 6th, 180 and Rachel Wiebe, 8th, 197 showing their talents, Campbell said Sunday night: "Especially in team golf you want everyone to contribute and feel that they are competing together. This year was the first year, in a while, that we did not have someone carry us. Everyone chipped in."
|MacEwan Griffins, 2017 ACAC Women's Golf Team Champions|
This is the 10th ACAC Women's Golf title for MacEwan.
It was only a one-shot difference that saw the Rattlers edge the Red Deer Queens for the women's silver placement with a best total of 363 to 364.
"It was pretty gritty and the weather was not cooperative for anyone," said Rattlers head coach Moore. "It was close but one shot is good as 10 down the stretch and there was a bit of intensity."
Red Deer coach Bergdahl admitted, 'That it was very sad. But we are looking at the positives all the way through. You have to grind it out and you never know what is going to happen. Every shot matters. All of them dug deep and went hard but we fell short. This is a tremendous learning opportunity for all the athletes.
"Medicine Hat was one stroke better and they deserve to go. Good on them and next year we will be better and we will be heading to nationals."
Medicine Hat Rattlers will host the 2018 PING CCAA Golf National Championships, the first time the ACAC has hosted golf, but right now Rattlers coach Moore is focused for the trip east.
"The biggest thing is that we focus off the course. We want them to board the flights out east with a clear head."
2017 PING CCAA Golf National Championships link Event Information http://ccaa.ca/sports/golf/championship/event-info/index
Leader Board CCAA link http://ccaa.ca/sports/golf/championship/schedule_and_results/leaderboard
ACAC Men's Championship results https://app.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/appe_awong12613/event/appe_awong1261319m/contest/1/leaderboard.htm
ACAC Women's Championship results https://app.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/appe_awong12613/event/appe_awong1261320m/contest/3/leaderboard.htm