Nine talented young golfers from Rocky View County (RVC) capped off the 2019 high-school season Sept. 23 and 24 at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) provincial championships.
The two-day tourney was held throughout central Alberta – Day 1 took place at the Alberta Springs Golf Resort, west of Red Deer, while Day 2 was at the Innisfail Golf Club. Both locations were par-72 courses.
Springbank was RVC’s most represented school, with four girls and four boys hitting the links. In the girls’ competition, Springbank finished fourth among 3A/4A schools with an overall score of 588, while the Phoenix boys ended the tournament in fifth place with a tally of 466.
“It was really tight – out of 11 teams, between first and fifth place, there was a 13-stroke difference,” said Phoenix golf coach Ioan Matthews. “The competition was really close this year.”
Individually, Springbank’s top performer was Grade-10 Aneesh Kaura, who finished in a tie for 12th place in the boys’ competition. Kaura shot a 77 on Day 1 and an 80 on Day 2, for a total score of 157, or 13 over par.
Senior Tyson Mansell tied for 28th with an overall score of 163, while Caden Park finished one stroke higher in a three-way tie for 31st. Justin Beland rounded out the boys’ competition for Springbank with a score of 180, which put him in a tie for 64th place. There were 112 golfers in the boys’ field.
“After the first round, I think our boys were one point out of first and the girls were in third,” Matthews said. “The next day, the boys shot better scores as a team on the second course, but so did the other teams.”
On the girls’ side, Grade-11 Kayla Ironside put forward Springbank’s best showing, with a score of 95 on Day 1 and 91 on Day 2, to place 16th. Madi Smith and Cassandra Ogden finished one stroke apart, with scores of 232 and 233 respectively, to place 54th and 55th. Emily Toole’s 257 strokes placed her in 64th, in a field of 67 golfers.
“My girls were mainly there for fun,” Matthews said. “I have a few that are competitive – one is a competitive golfer – but the rest are hockey players, who are golfing because I tracked them down in Grade 9 and kind of pushed them a little bit."
Cochrane High School’s Kristine Dixon was RVC’s top female golfer over the weekend. She shot a 78 on Day 1 to put her in fourth place, but she struggled on the Innisfail course, only shooting a 103. Still, her strong performance on Day 1 meant she finished the tournament in a three-way tie for eighth.
RVC’s golfers qualified for the ASAA tournament based on their performances at the South Central Zones tournament, held Sept. 17 at Lynx Ridge Golf Club in Cochrane. Springbank’s boys’ team won the Zones tournament, while the girls finished runner-up to Canmore.
“If you qualify as a team, your players go as a team, but any individual boys who shoot better than 76 at Zones qualify automatically for provincials, and any girls who shoot 90 or better automatically qualify for provincials,” Matthews said. “Usually, at Zones, the two lowest individual scores [qualify for provincials].”
Matthews said the Phoenix’s golf team has been a strong contender at provincials in recent years.
“My girls finished in second place at provincials last year,” he said. “For the boys, it’s a little more tough, because there are more guys that golf.”