ACAC Championship Golf Preview

ACAC Championship Golf Preview

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

The 2018 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Golf Championships (Presented by Holiday Inn) are scheduled to tee off tomorrow, Saturday September 29, 2018 at the Alberta Spring Golf Resort located six kilometres west of Red Deer and hosted by Red Deer College.

The basic info in a nutshell.

A nutshell that could be cracked due to Mother Nature as was the case at the ACAC Northern Regional which was to be held last weekend but was cancelled with an ACAC tweet confirming, "due to a blanket of snow covering @MillwoodsGolf in Edmonton."

Al Norlin, head professional at Alberta Spring Golf Resort, says of the possibility of cancellation at the ACAC golf finale, due to inclement weather, "It is very difficult to look into the crystal ball but I'm thinking we will be able to proceed. We are all set to go."

The Weather Network, at the time of this writing (Thursday September 27, 2018 afternoon) predicts Saturday will be a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 4 degrees with winds at 21 kilometres from the north while Sunday will be mainly sunny with a high of 2 degrees with winds gusting at 27 kilometres from the south east.

"The turf conditions will be wet with the snow and rain we had had the last couple of days," said Norlin. "The ball will be slower definitely.

"Players should be prepared clothing wise. That is the big thing...to keep the body warm and hands warm."

Chloe Sies, RDC Queens Golfer

Two student/athletes carrying the hot hands heading into the ACAC Golf Championships, the men's title held since 1965 and the women's since 1994, are University of Alberta Augustana Vikings' Michael Harrison and Red Deer Queens' Chloe Sies.

"There is not a lot of added pressure," said Harrison, 23, of the fact that he is the ACAC Men's Golf defending champion which was preceded by a second place finish in 2015-2016. "I am there to help the team to do the best that we can."

Of the cancellation of the Northern Regional, Harrison said: "I don't think it really affects me a whole lot although it would have been nice to get another tournament in and keep the competitive golf going."

Harrison, in his fourth year at the Camrose school (Physical Education), comes from a golfing family with older brother Joel, 25, and Andrew, 21 displaying impressive games.

Asked who the best of the three is, Harrison is quick to answer: "Definitely my younger brother Andrew. He currently plays for the University of British Columbia (Thunderbirds). He is the most skilled. He was definitely very competitive with us growing up and that may have helped him improve through the years."

With plans to "do his Physiotherapy Masters degree", Harrison won the ACAC Southern Regional September 15-16, 2018 at Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club and hosted by Portage Voyageurs, with a two-day total of 149 which was five under.

Of the strong points of his game, Harrison said: "My short game and putting are usually the strong areas."

Harrison concluded with the suggestion that the ACAC look to hosting the two regional events earlier in the year to possibly avoid weather delays or cancellations: "For the ACAC, I think we could perhaps start a little bit earlier. Maybe the first weekend and second weekend of September and eliminate the bad weather we are having.

"But I consider myself a player who plays well, in all sort of conditions. If it will be cold and windy, I will welcome it."

For Red Deer Queens' Chloe Sies, it is her first swing into post-secondary golf.

An occasion that was postponed for one year following graduation from Melville Comprehensive High School in 2017.

"I decided to take some time off and work after graduation...that had always been the plan," said Sies, 19, a native of Melville, Saskatchewan. "I just needed that one year gap for a break."

Enrolled in Bachelor of Science Biological Sciences, the 5-foot-8 Sies is no stranger to championship golf.

Her impressive links resume includes Canada Summer Games, Western Canada Summer Games, Saskatchewan Summer Games and two provincial individual titles.

"I have played golf ever since I can remember," said Sies, who played competitive volleyball up until Grade 10. "My dad (Chad Sies) would take me out on the course when he was going out and eventually I picked up the clubs and I was now his little golfing buddy.

"He would actually take me out in my car seat on the golf cart when I was a baby."

Sies, who shot a two-day total of 167 at the North Regionals for a first-place tie with Medicine Hat Rattlers' Becky Martin, decided to join the Queens due to the fact that, "I really liked my teammate s and the coach and the city and was happy with the location and how we were projected to do this year."

With an estimated drive of "270 to 285 yards", Sies is confident heading into the ACAC Golf Championships tomorrow.

"I am well-equipped with the experience I have. I have competed in many national tournaments and have the skill...so I hope to do well. I hit a pretty long ball and I am mentally tough and I can handle the cold weather. There are some strong girls out there for sure and they definitely have some game."