T'Birds Settle For Second At NAIA Championships, UVic Vikes T9th

The UBC Thunderbirds Men's Golf Squad Stumbled In The Final Round But Still Had A Good Result Finishing Runners-Up In The 2016 NAIA Championships - Image Courtesy UBC Athletics/Twitter

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

The UBC Thunderbirds saw a seven-shot lead quickly evaporate in Friday’s final round and had to settle for second place at the NAIA Men’s Golf Championships in Silvis, Ill.

The T-Birds had their worst round of the 72-hole event on Friday, when they shot a team score of 301 or 17-over par at the TPC at Deere Run.

They finished the event eight strokes behind the winning team from Oklahoma City University.

After a terrific third round on Thursday -- when the T-Birds carded a team score of one-under 283 -- UBC had carried a seven-shot cushion on Oklahoma City into the final round.

UBC got solid rounds Friday from Evan Holmes of Calgary, who fired an even-par 71, and Nate Ollis of Victoria, who shot a 73. But the other three members of the team struggled. Trent Abraham of Hamilton shot an 81, Andrew Harrison of Camrose, Alta., carded a 79 and Jack Wood of Banff, Alta., closed with a 78.

“We’re obviously really disappointed,” said UBC coach Chris MacDonald. “We just got off to a really bad start today. The conditions were difficult, the wind was swirling around a lot, but I’m not sure what happened. We got off our game plan on the front nine, they started maybe to try and do too much individually. They started attacking a few pins they really had no business attacking and it just led to bogeys and doubles.

“Some of the guys just didn’t get into a rhythm early on and because of that they were having a really hard time fighting back and by that time the wind was blowing 30 or 40 miles per hour and they were struggling to hit the right shots. I was really impressed with Oklahoma City. They have three really strong seniors and I feel like their experience won the day.”

Holmes finished the tournament tied for fourth place in the individual competition at five-over par.

The University of Victoria, the only other Canadian school in the tournament, tied for ninth place. Victoria’s Lawren Rowe finished third in the individual competition at three-over par. Rowe matched the low round of the tournament in Wednesday’s second round when he carded a four-under 67 at the TPC at Deere Run, which is the site of the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic.

The Vikes and T-Birds will both compete in the upcoming Canadian University/College Championship, which goes May 31-June 3 at Morningstar Golf Course in Parksville. Camosun College and the University of the Fraser Valley are the other B.C. schools scheduled to compete at Morningstar.

CLICK HERE for final Team Scores