Kwalikum Secondary School’s golf team is still steaming a bit but no less proud after finishing second in the province at the AA provincial finals in Radium Hot Springs.
This is the second straight year the Kondors have finished second — they lost by one stroke at the AAA provincials last year.
“Steaming … Radium Hot Springs … I get it, and yeah, that would be a fair assessment,” coach Butch Gayton said this week, adding, “I think like any group they’re a bit disappointed, but there not crushed. I think all five of them know they left a little bit out there, especially the first day … the same thing happened last year. We had a bad first day and had to make up to much ground the second day.”
“It was very, very, very close,” tournament chair and host-coach Barry Tremblay chuckled from his office at David Thompson Secondary in Invermere on Thursday.
The 16-team, two-day, 36 hole event was played out at The Springs golf course at Radium Resort and is nestled beside the Rocky Mountains.
The Kondors were comprised of Brayden Eriksen, Kyler Bourgeault, Monica Huang and Brett Saremba along with alternate Sean Austin. They finished top of the heap for the second straight year to win the Islands at Arbutus Ridge in Mill Bay May 18.
“Lots of work, lots of fun … this is my first time hosting (a provincial final), but I’ve been to many provincials, and this is the tightest finish we’ve had in a long time,” said Tremblay.
In the end, it was the St. Thomas Moore Knights who grabbed top honours for the fourth straight year.
Brayden led the Kondors both days, firing a 74 on day one then knocking down a couple birdies en route to a one-under 71 on day two.
Kyler Bourgeault shot a 76 both days and Monica Huang back to back 78s. Brett Seremba was the fourth player to count on day one at 81 and Sean Austin counted on day two with a 76. That 76, said his coach, was nice to see from a player who sat out the Island finals and was a last minute replacement.
Worth noting is that Brayden’s opening round of 74 included a rare, two-stroke, self-assessed penalty for an obscure sand trap ruling.
“You’re not allowed to ground you club at any time in the sand trap,” explained Gayton, “in other words, other than the shot, your club can’t touch the sand, and during his takeaway he felt something. and he assumes his club hit the back end of the sand trap, that he had grounded his club.”
Nobody saw the infraction, “but that just shows his integrity, to call it on himself because he felt he was in violation of the rules, which he knows very well.”
In the tournament skills competition, Kyler, who had a drive during the practice round that they paced off to be 365 yards.
Brayden won the Sand Skills event and Monica was the Long Drive winner amongst both sexes — she was one of four females in the mix — from the red tees.
Brett finished fourth in the Putting Contest.
The low round of the tournament went to Seaton’s Conner Kozak who dialled up a 4-under 68 on day two.
There are no national finals in high school golf, but many of the players will now turn their attention to the zone qualifiers for Golf BC’s upcoming Jr. Boys BC Championships.
As for this year’s team of Kondors, all five players graduate this year.
Gayton said, “they’re a great group of kids that should hold their heads up high, because they finished second out of all the double-A schools in the province.”