OTTAWA, Ont - The Western Mustangs Men’s Golf team built off of their strong Day 1 round to secure the OUA Championship at Loch March Golf & Country Club on Sunday. The win gives them Western their first title since 2012, which was the last year a team other than Waterloo has claimed gold.
On the women’s side, the five-time defending champion, Toronto Varsity Blues, powered through the competition behind the stellar performance of individual champion Laura Upenieks. The team’s sixth win is a testament to the dominance of the program. Despite a late push from Queen’s, the win was almost never in doubt.
In an absolutely thrilling final series of holes, Western’s veteran captain Charles Fitzsimmons won the Men’s Individual championship by just a single stroke, in what may be his final and most emotional OUA Championship yet.
“My grandparents passed away together a few weeks ago, within five hours of each other. It was obviously a very, very sad time for our family,” said Fitzsimmons. “Their funeral was yesterday, so it was a very emotional Friday. To come in playing with a heavy heart, thinking of them, and win in their honour is really special.”
Despite heavy competition on Day 2, a full team effort carried the Mustangs to victory; something that was the ultimate goal for Fitzsimmons, who has been key in four OUA titles in eleven seasons with the team.
“The individual portion is just icing on the cake. What we’re here for is the team event,” he said. “We have an absolutely great group of guys and we’ve enjoyed playing together and pushing each other to get to this. To finish it like this is special, I couldn’t be happier for the group.”
For Upenieks and her Toronto team, they felt the pressure of being the team to beat for another year.
“We’ve had the weight of expectation on our shoulders for a long time having won five straight,” she said. “Battling that and staying focused on what we needed to do was important. It’s a remarkable group of girls and it’s special to be around how hard they work … It was a really incredible team atmosphere.”
Particularily on Day 2, Upenieks distanced herself from the pack. Shooting par for the course on the weekend, she finished an astonishing 13-strokes ahead of the second place finisher.
“I stayed patient and stuck to the game plan that I had coming in,” said Upenieks. “After all the hard work throughout the season, I wanted to make sure I was in the best position to be successful.”
In thrilling fashion, the host Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s team stormed back from a tied seventh-place finish on the first day, to secure a shared silver medal with Queen’s at tournament’s end. After an astounding 4-under performance on Sunday, Ottawa’s Gabriel Gingras finished a stroke short of taking home the 2017 individual title, but held the honour of best round played this weekend.
Full tournament results are available on Golf Ontario’s website.
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS:
FINAL INDIVIDUAL TOP 10:
1: Charles Fitzsimmons (Western) -2
2: Gabriel Gingras (Ottawa) -1
T3 Austin Ryan (Laurier) E
T3: Bryce Evon (Windsor) E
5: Mackenzie Carter (Western) +1
T6: Marc-Anthony Manion (Guelph) +4
T6: Myles Killackey (Queen’s) +4
T6: Matthew Vihant (Guelph) +4
T6: Nicolas Striker (Guelph) +4
T10: Jordy Denomme (Waterloo) +5
T10: Kevin Fawcett (Toronto) +5
Coach of the Year
Jim Waite, Western
1: Laura Upenieks (Toronto) E
2: Robyn Campbell (Queen’s) +13
3: Laura Wesselius (Waterloo) +14
4. Ellice Hong (Toronto) +16
5: Linnea Knutsson (Guelph) +18
6: Melanie Burgess (Windsor) +19
7: Tavia Maurovic (Windsor) +20
T8: Chloe Wilson (Carleton) +21
T8: Ana Peric (Toronto) +21
T8: Melissa Ramnauth (Queen’s) +21
Coach of the Year
Dave Woods, Toronto