Las Vegas, N.V. – While it was not the result they were looking for, the Heat men's golf team still made history this weekend at the MJGA Invitational at Aliante Golf Club in Las Vegas.
The Heat would finish third out of 12 NCAA Division II and Division III schools in what was the first-ever UBC Okanagan golf team to compete south of the border.
A first day-score of 295 (+7) would have them 12 shots back of Westminster College from Utah, and they were unable to make up any ground on Day 2, eventually finishing the tournament in the third spot with a two-day total of 604 (+28).
Individually for the Heat, it was Kelowna's own Marcus Apchin who led the way, thanks to rounds of 73 and 75 to finish 10th overall (+4) individually. UBCO rookie Cole Wilson, and Immaculata graduate Ethan Hunt would be not far behind, finishing at +8 and +9 for the 36-hole tournament respectively. Nik Federko and Oliver Rizun would round out the lineup, with both having counting scores each of the two days, with Federko firing 73 in the opening round and Rizun finishing with a six-over round of 78 in round two.
The team title would be taken rather handily by Westminster College, who finished the 36-hole tournament at 567 (-9) as a team for a 23-shot victory over Winona State University from Minnesota. It would come down to the wire for the individual title just outside of Vegas. There ended up being a four-way tie for first at three-under (141) between three Westminster players, and the eventual champion, Ethan Donahoo Newman University. The title was decided by retrogression.
"Happy with the results being the first event [for our golferrs] this year. Nice to see what we are capable of when competing against some of the top schools in the States." commented Heat head coach Clay Stothers following his teams opening tournament of the spring season.
With the courses in the Okanagan opening up in coming weeks, the Heat will prepare to head to Chilliwack Golf Club at the end of the month for the UFV Invitational, which could feature the top-four teams from the Canada West Championship in October. This event will also mark the opening of the spring season for the Heat women's squad as they take on some of Canada's best competition.