The Kwalikum Kondors Golf team took to Qualicum Memorial Golf Course for their first tournament of the season, on the start of their search for a third-straight provincial championship.
Having won three titles already (1986, 2013 and 2014), the Kondors are feeling up to the challenge and were chomping at the bit to show their stuff at the first tournament of the season (results not available at press time).
“These kids are a hungry group,” coach Butch Gayton said. “They know the pressure that comes with being back-to-back provincial champions and they’re welcoming it with open arms.”
“It’s great to see the enthusiasm from all of the players involved that want to play some sort of a role in helping this team potentially with a third straight title.”
The pressure is there, Gayton admits, but it’s not something he feels will take away from his players being able to play the way that he knows they are capable of playing.
“I don’t think it will hurt them,” Gayton said. “There’s only so much that outside pressure can get to you in the game of golf.”
“It’s mostly a mental game and it all comes from you. You can listen to everyone else as much as you want to but when it comes down to playing the game out there, it’s just you, the clubs and that golf ball. These kids are up to the challenge and they’re ready.”
With a team that only has one Grade 12 player (Carson Arcurri), the Kondors boast a number of Grade 10’s to go along with Grade 11’s Masato Wilson, Blair Stewart and Anthony Trozzo.
“We’ve got a good mix of players,” Gayton said. “We’ve got some kids who don’t have a ton of experience but can play the game and we’ve also got Carson, our senior on the team, to go along with Masato, Blair and Anthony who’ve been out there on the course for both Island and provincial championship rounds.”
“That experience from those three is tremendous for us and will go a long way in helping out some of the players that don’t quite have that much experience just yet.”
Being able to kick off their season with a tournament at home, on one of the two courses they practise on (along with Pheasant Glen), the Kondors will have the home field advantage and will look to use that to their benefit.
“We are very lucky to have two great courses to practise on,” Gayton said. “For us, I think it really helps in getting the kids in to the swing of things right off the bat.”
“We don’t have to worry about travelling and then getting ready at another course that we might not be all that familiar with. We’re right in our own backyard and we know what the course has to offer.”
“Qualicum Memorial is a great course that stays very dry, even when it pours rain, so we’re going to have some good conditions for our first tournament rain or shine, hopefully just sunshine though.”