UBCO golfer McKenna Lesiuk.—contributed

UBCO golf season tees off

Male and female student golfers in action this weekend.

The UBC Okanagan Heat golf teams will tee off their tenth season of competition this weekend when they host the PacWest season opening tournament at their home course The Okanagan Golf Club.

The student golfers are back this academic year after teaming up with the GolfBC Group to raise $60,000 to support the golf program. The students and members of the golfing community raised $27,000 through a series of fundraising events, and GolfBC—together with its parent company the Burrard Group—pledged an additional $33,000 to the program, making them the largest single-season contributors to the UBC Okanagan athletics program.

“We are proud to be a part of the Heat Golf season and excited by this year’s lineup of players,” said GolfBC vice-president of Golf Operations Andy Hedley. “We have an excellent team and we’re thrilled to see them tackle their season opening tournament.”

The 36-hole tournament will be played Saturday and Sunday on the Bear course, featuring a par-72, 6,885-yard layout.

Although the men’s scoring five-some has yet to be determined, the Heat men’s golf team blends five returning golfers with three newcomers who will all compete at their home tournament, with the three golfers striking out as individuals at the team event.

James Casorso is back for his fifth season and looks to finish off a stellar career that saw the Immaculata grad earn an All-Canadian last year. The four other returning golfers will all be competing in their third season, as Grant Dollevoet, Derek Graham, and Olliver Rizun have golfed for three straight years while Casey Sullivan is back after taking 2016 off.

The three newcomers hoping to make the travel squad are all from the Okanagan Valley. A second Immaculata grad, Nik Federko will join Lake Country’s Dylan Jonstone and Vernon’s Ryley Johnson on the team.

The women’s scoring side for UBC Okanagan will be clear all year long as the roster boasts just the two returning golfers, fourth-year Emily Adams and second-year Kelowna golfer McKenna Lesiuk. Lesiuk in her rookie season last fall finished fourth in the province for the PacWest season and Adams is the last holdover from the national silver medal winning team in 2015.

The four-tournament PacWest league will begin in Kelowna this weekend, make three other stops, as teams hope to qualify for the 2017 Ping CCAA golf national championships, hosted once again by Durham College.

The national championships will take place at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club, Oct. 17-20, 2017.

The PACWEST provincial champions are crowned on cumulative scoring over the four tournaments at the Ledgeview Golf Club in Abbotsford, Oct. 7 to 8. The middle two tournaments will take place on Vancouver Island at the Morningstar Golf Course (Sept. 23 to 24) and the Highland Pacific Golf Club (Sept. 30 to Oct.1) in Parksville and Victoria respectively.