OSHAWA, Ont. - The Toronto Varsity Blues women's golf team and Waterloo Warriors men's golf team successfully defended their OUA golf titles on Tuesday afternoon at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club.
Winning gold at the event has become a yearly ritual for the Toronto women's golf team having hoisted the Liz Hoffman Cup for four straight seasons. Toronto, who only held a seven-stroke lead after round one, blew away the competition in round two shooting a 14-over par 230 which was 18 strokes better than any other team. The Varsity Blues shot a two-day total of 471, 26 strokes in front of the silver medal winning Waterloo Warriors (497). The Queen's Gaels (510) bested the Western Mustangs (512) by two strokes to win bronze.
Toronto becomes the first team to win four straight titles since Western did it from 2005 to 2008.
Leading the Varsity Blues was Laura Upenieks, who erased a four-stroke deficit to win the individual title. Upenieks shot a final round of two-over par to end up with a two-day total of 154 to edge out teammate and first round leader Ana Peric by one stroke. This marks Upenieks first OUA individual gold medal in seven appearances at the championship and Toronto's second straight individual champion.
"It's been an incredible four years," said Upenieks. "To pull it off four years in a row against such tough competition is really fulfilling. To win double gold, the one that was always eluding me, it's really special."
Rounding out the individual medalists was Sara Holland of Western who finished at 17-over par 161, one stroke ahead of defending individual champion Sarah Dunning of Toronto and Samantha Coates of Carleton.
On the men's side, Waterloo won their second straight Ruttan Cup for the third time in program history, posting a two-day total of 589. Holding an eight-stroke lead after day one, Waterloo made things look easy during the final round with a team total of three-over par 291. Waterloo was the only team to score below 300 in both rounds of play for the second straight year.
The Toronto Varsity Blues also had an impressive second round with a team total of nine-over par 297 to jump from sixth place into the silver medal position. Toronto finished the championship at 608, two strokes ahead of the Queen's Gaels (610) who claimed bronze. Guelph finished one stroke out of a podium finish with a score of 611.
Entering the final round in a three-way tie for the lead, Gajan Sivabalasingham of Waterloo was able to defend his individual title shooting one-under par for a two-day total of 143. Sivabalasingham was one of two golfers to finish the final round under par. He also becomes the third straight golfer to win back-to-back individual titles, joining Chris Hemmerich (Guelph, '12 & '13 champion) and Garrett Rank (Waterloo, '10 & '11 champion).
"My teammates and coaches have just been awesome this year and throughout my entire career," said Sivabalasingham. "When I was struggling, they were always there for me. Our team has come such a long way. Any one of us could have won this tournament this week."
Sivabalasingham's teammate David French finished in a tie with Queen's Jordan Gregoris for second place at two-over par while Ryan Tsang of Toronto recorded his second straight podium finish ending up with bronze at three-over par.
As for the hosting UOIT Ridgebacks, MacKenzie Dasti finished in a tie for eighth place overall, earning a spot on the OUA second all-star team. This is the second straight year a Ridgeback has finished in the top ten at the provincial championship.
OUA GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP AWARD WINNERS
Ruttan Cup (Men's) – Waterloo Warriors
Liz Hoffman Cup (Women's) – Toronto Varsity Blues
Individual Competition – Men's
Len Shore Trophy - Gold - Gajan Sivabalasingham, Waterloo (143)
Silver – Jordan Gregoris, Queen's (147)
Silver – David French, Waterloo (147)
Bronze – Ryan Tsang, Toronto (148)
Individual Competition – Women's
Judy McCrae Trophy - Gold – Laura Upenieks, Toronto (154)
Silver – Ana Peric, Toronto (155)
Bronze – Sara Holland, Western (161)
OUA Coach of the Year
Men's – Dave Hollinger, Waterloo
Women's – Dave Woods, Toronto
Gajan Sivabalasingham, Waterloo
Jordan Gregoris, Queen's
David French, Waterloo
Ryan Tsang, Toronto
Scott Banks, Guelph
Ian Wilson, Queen's
Dylan Cave, Waterloo
Josh Zhang, Western
Jake Adams, Waterloo
Mat Rochon, Ottawa
Stephen Wingfield, Brock
Chris Collins, Carleton
MacKenzie Dasti, UOIT
Laura Upenieks, Toronto
Ana Peric, Toronto
Sara Holland, Western
Sarah Dunning, Toronto
Samantha Coates, Carleton
Laura Luna, Waterloo
Claire Konning, Waterloo
Elanna Lachaine-DeMarchi, Waterloo
Shannon Rowan, Brock
Jamie Wood, Laurier