Carolyn Lee win’s gold and her women’s team picks up silver medal, men claim seventh overall at nationals.
CHILLIWACK, BC – A thrilling finish for the UBC Okanagan Heat golf teams at the 2015 PING CCAA Golf National Championships saw Carolyn Lee (Calgary, AB) top her performance yet again with her best finish of the weekend, a 2-over 74 to top the leaderboard and help capture a silver medal for the ladies in blue and gold – Lee with the low score in the tournament wins the individual gold medal.
Lee’s 229, +13 result over the course of the three-day event, hosted by the University of Fraser Valley Cascades at the Chilliwack Golf & Country Club, was a staggering 8-stroke lead over the competition. The All-Canadian’s three-round scorecard of 79-76-74 would not be matched, as no one else would shoot under 80 all three days, and neither would a single day tally of 76 be beat.
“It has been a pleasure to watch Carolyn Lee lead the team and to be a part of her journey of self-belief in her golf!” said Cass Hritzuk, third-year coach for the Heat following the week’s results.
“This win is unreal,” an excited Lee noted after the match. The always learning golfer felt she had one of her best days on the links on Friday, but didn’t want to claim her results as her own. The humble Lee was quick to point out how much the Heat coaches helped her during the week.
“Cass and Robert [Letvinchuck, assistant coach] really helped me get in the right mindset for the week. I had a really good talk with Robert after the first round about being more relaxed and feeling good on the course and just not being so hard on myself when I miss hit shots. Both of them [Cass and Robert] keep us laughing throughout which helps a lot with the nerves. I think I felt the most pressure on the first day. I felt some pressure today but I think I managed it better than I did on the first day.”
A herculean performance by Lee, supported by teammates Lauren Siemers (West Kelowna, BC) and Emily Adams (Ladysmith, BC), who each also turned in weekend bests on Friday, found the Heat only two strokes down to the tournament-leading Humber College Hawks. However, the Hawks kept their momentum to capture the gold with a +41 to the Heat’s +49 for the silver. The Georgian College Grizzlies rounded out the top three with the bronze.
The first-year Siemers wrapped up with a +36 overall for tenth overall, shooting a +9 Friday, her lowest of the event. Sophomore golfer Adams tied for sixteenth overall with a Friday score of +18, holding her scorecard steady for a +54 finish.
The men’s list saw the Heat’s James Casorso (Kelowna, BC) swing in a Friday tally of +3, finishing also a +3 for the tournament to tie for fifteenth. Casey Sullivan (Kelowna, BC) and Ollie Rizun (Squamish, BC) each tied for 22nd, swinging in +4s on Friday to tally +5 each for the week. Jacob Stewart (Calgary, AB) shot +7 and +15 overall, while Grant Dollevoet (Kelowna, BC) rounded out the Heat’s cart of players with a strong +1 finish Friday, and a +16 overall.
UBC Okanagan would claim seventh overall a team score of +22 following a strong +12 Friday. The Camosun Chargers got the gold, with the Niagara Knights and host Cascades taking home silver and bronze, respectively.
This was the first national championships for Rizun, Stewart, and Dollevoet, all in their rookie season at UBC Okanagan, with Casorso and Sullivan still young veterans on a developing cast and promising group. They captured third place at the Provincial Championships a week prior.
“We’re so proud of the way everyone on our team has played this entire year,” coach Hritzuk went on, reflecting on the fall journey for Heat golf. “The men’s team played solid golf all week with the exception of a few holes that took them out of medal contention. As for the women, [the coaching staff] is not in the least bit surprised at their outstanding result!”
The UBC Okanagan golf teams will return to action on the course next fall for the 2016 season. Be sure to check back at goheat.ca for updated schedules, scores, and other news as they become available.
Carolyn Lee’s meteoric finish to the 2015 season is another notch to a growing list of accomplishments for the still-young Heat star. This will be her third-season and now back-to-back All-Canadian. She won the individual bronze in her second season at nationals and as Team Captain has now led her school to a provincial championship and back-to-back PACWEST medals (she was second overall individually in both years).
Lee tallied seven total birdies over the course of the tournament to top the leaderboards with 7, and shot 32 out of 54 pars. Her 229 shot total is the 8th best all-time national tournament score dating back to 2000. Interestingly, a former UBC Okanagan golfer, Jen Woods (Kelowna, BC), was one of the other seven golfers, though she did so with UFV in 2013 for second place.
Following her performance at this year’s championships, she has once again earned a CCAA National Tournament All-Stars, and if possibly an Academic All-Canadian as well.
~ Kevin Illomin // Special to Heat communications
Photos courtesy of the CCAA: