Golf team just can't find the hole
By Steve Whiting
They might not be as famous as Tiger Woods but the Western golf team have been quietly carrying on the Mustang winning tradition for most of this season.
In preparation for the Ontario University Athletics championship, the team played in three warm-up tournaments, blowing away the competition in two of them and finishing as the runner-up in the other. All signals pointed towards a third title this decade unfortunately, luck and tradition would not be on their side this week as the team was forced to settle for fourth place in the OUA finals.
"I guess we peaked too early this year," team member Jordan Rose said. "We just couldn't get the bounces and came up short on our putts."
The championships began on Monday and the Mustangs came out blazing with Brent Mizzan shooting an impressive 74, just two strokes over par and two shots back of the tournament low. Right behind Mizzan was team captain Jordan Rose who shot a 77, while Phil McKinley and Roberto Rameson finished with 78. The team finished the day with a top-four score of 307, eight shots back of tournament leader, Queen's.
According to Western coach Jim Waite, winning was still very much a possibility going into the second day of action. "We hoped to shoot 300 on Tuesday since we felt that would be what we need in order to medal."
Day two turned into a very difficult one for the men who had a number of ups and downs amounting to overall inconsistent play. This wavering play could not be more recognizable then in McKinley's final round. Being three under par after the first 12 holes, McKinley was well on his way to the tournament low or at least positioning his team in the medals in this, his last year of play for the team.
Unfortunately, McKinley ended the final six holes with a frustrating six over, finishing at three over, 75 for the day. Mizzan also had his trouble, adding six strokes to his day one final, shooting an even 80, as Western finished fourth behind Queen's with an overall two-day total of 617.
Coach Waite summed up the team's performance as a disappointment based on how well the team had performed in regular season tournaments.
"The fourth place finish was frustrating and disappointing because we had such high expectations from our previous tournament victories," he said.
Even with the team's disappointing collapse, McKinley was selected to the OUA Golf First All-Star Team because of his outstanding play throughout the four tournaments.
"Phil was great for us all year and played well on this tournament but just had a tough time at the end," Waite said. "He has been a huge part of our team."
According to Waite, the prospects for gold next year are very high.
"We will have four remaining players from this year and with their experiences all we need to do is add one good new player to win next season."