Led by graduating senior Casorso, Heat golf took home silver from the 2017 national tournament.
The UBC Okanagan Heat golf program started this year with questions about whether or not it would continue, due to funding issues. Last weekend, they played their way to a silver medal at the 2017 PING CCAA National Championships at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club in Oshawa, Ontario.
The course was a challenging opponent for all golfers during the four-day competition, with winds blowing steadily up to 50 kilometres an hour over a course that played over 7,000 yards and with greens that were rolling incredibly fast, at an 11 or 12 on the stimpmeter. Those conditions had players struggling throughout, as the scoring average for the weekend was over 80 (+8), and only one round of under 70 was recorded through the tournament.
The Canadian collegiate title was battled for in Ontario on October 17-20, hosted by the Durham College. With a weekend total score of +72 (1224), the Heat golf men’s crew finished behind the UFV Cascades for the weekend and earned the title of the second-best program in the country.
On the women’s side, the Heat finished just off the podium as Emily Adams and McKenna Lesiuk put together a weekend score of +144 (720) through their weekend, finishing fifth.
“After all the uncertainty the team faced and overcame before the season started it was icing on the cake to see them perform so well at nationals.” – Heat coach Cass Hritzuk
This year’s national tournament was the final competition for veteran Heat golfer James Casorso, who has played his full five years of eligibility with UBC Okanagan. He finished the weekend with the men’s individual silver medal, tallying a +8 (296) total through the tournament’s four rounds. The silver medal cemented his status as one of the all-time best Heat golfers, adding to his previous list of accomplishments that include three PACWEST All-Star awards, designation as an All-Canadian collegiate golfer, and being named to the National All-Star Team.
Pushing the Heat to a silver medal on the national stage this year were Heat men’s golfers Nik Federko, Ryley Johnson, Oliver Rizun, and Casey Sullivan. As a rookie, Federko had an impressive weekend, shooting a team-low 74 (+2) in the tournament’s opening round. The second day saw Casorso shoot the Heat’s lowest round, at 72, while Johnson put up his tournament low with a 74. Rizun, who highlighted the Heat’s home tournament earlier this year with a hole-in-one on the par four eighth hole at the Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear Course, had a tough weekend but shot a 77 in his final round to help the Heat cement their silver medal.
“After all the uncertainty the team faced and overcame before the season started,” said Heat golf coach Cass Hritzuk after the tournament, “it was icing on the cake to see them perform so well at nationals.”
Emily Adams and McKenna Lesiuk were in lockstep through the week, finishing just four strokes and two positions apart for the tournament. Adams finished with a total 358, putting her 14th on the leaderboard, and Lesiuk shot 362, finishing 16th. Adams was also awarded the female tournament’s annual PING Fair Play award for her exemplary integrity, team spirit, and respect for her opponents.