Qualicum Beach golfer Kayli Melissa has made a good impression in her freshman year at the Ottawa University of Arizona.
As a member of the the Spirit women’s golf team, Melissa stood out in a couple of tournaments this year. Her latest accolade was being named Women’s Golf Player of the Week by the National Christian College Athletic Association.
The award was announced by the NCCAA on Nov. 20 as part of its weekly release on recipients for Student-Athlete of the Week. It was the first such award in the young OUA Spirit women’s golf program’s history.
Melissa earned the player of the week honour after she led the OUAZ Spirit at the Firestorm Fall Invitational, where the former Kwalikum Secondary standout finished in a tie for sixth place.
Melissa fired a first-round 76, just four strokes over par. The next day, Melissa struggled a bit but still carded a 78 to take her two-day total to 154, ending up ten strokes over par.
“Kayli (Melissa) played well this past week,” said OUAZ Spirit head golf coach Clayton Sikorski. “She has the ability to do this at every event and it was great to see her put it together for two rounds in a row.”
Sikorski credited the improvements Melissa has gained on her game when she earned the right to compete at the NCCAA Golf National Championships that was held in Palm Coast, Florida in October. She was one of four golfers who competed as an individual and the only Spirit women’s player to compete at nationals.
She qualified after she finished in fourth place at the West Regionals in September.
At her first national championship, Melissa finished tournament play with a final round 87, improving on her score from round two.
In round three, Melissa recorded a pair of birdies and a handful of pars and finished in a tie for 33rd place overall at 40 strokes over par.
“Kayli (Melissa) showed glimpses of great play in this tournament,” said Sikorski. “She just couldn’t overcome the slow starts each day. It is a learning process with her and she will continue to improve as the year progresses.”
The Spirit women’s golf team wrapped up its fall season at the Firestorm Fall Invitational in Phoenix. OUAZ will return to the course to begin its spring season at the end of January.
— With files from OUAZ