Kelowna, B.C. – For their first time in program history, the Heat men will head south of the border to take on some top-tier NCAA competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UBCO squad will take part in the 6th annual MJGA Invitational at the Aliante Golf Club this weekend (Mar. 6-7), with the tournament being hosted by Minot State University.
The same five individuals who travel to the three fall tournaments will be headed down to the Aliante Club in hopes of capturing both the team and individual titles. Rookie Cole Wilson impressed in his first semester, including picking up the victory in his first career start in Edmonton at Redtail Landing Golf Club. Wilson will be joined by third year lefty Nik Federko, along with sophomores Ethan Hunt and Marcus Apchin, who have played every tournament in the last two seasons. The lone upper classman on this year's team, Oliver Rizun rounds what is an extremely balanced UBCO lineup.
It was a great start to the season for the men, as they opened up the campaign under new head coach Clay Stothers with a victory at the U of A Invitational in Edmonton. Following the tournament in Lethbridge getting cancelled, UBCO would play host to the inaugural Canada West Golf Championship which would be held at the Okanagan Golf Club. The Heat had their chances on the back-nine on Sunday to earn a medal but would fall three shots shy of bronze medalists Victoria in the team competition. With the fourth-place finish however, the men earned an invitation to the Golf Canada University Championship which will be held in Quebec in late May. They closed out their fall schedule in Victoria with a third place finish at the Vikes Shootout in mid-October.
"We've had some fantastic progress with our team in the off season in the weight room and with the time we have spent at Simplex Sports zone which is our winter training facility," commented the Kelowna product Wilson before the team gets their season underway this weekend in Las Vegas. "I am excited to see how that converts onto the course. Fortunate that we get to travel down to Vegas to kick off our spring season in an NCAA tournament because it should be a great test for us to start the spring season."
Last year at the Aliante Golf Club it was Westminster College who took the team title, finishing the three-round tournament with a score of 901 (+37). Scoring conditions were tough throughout last year's tournament, as the individual champion would finish at +1 for 54-holes thanks to high winds and frigid temperatures in the desert.