UFV Cascades prepare for Canada West golf debut

A top program in the PACWest ranks for years, UFV moves up a level in 2019.

The University of the Fraser Valley golf program unofficially opens its 2019-20 campaign this week, as they play host to the third annual Nick Taylor Charity Pro-Am.

The event, co-hosted by the Cascades and PGA Tour golfer Taylor and presented by Algra Bros. Developments, began with a gala dinner on Wednesday evening followed by an 18-hole tournament on Thursday at Ledgeview Golf Club. The tourney begins with a shotgun start at 1 p.m., and spectators are welcome.

Proceeds from the gala will go to a pair of local charities selected by Taylor and wife Andie: Chilliwack Community Services and 27Blue, an Abbotsford-based foundation which supports youth mental health. Proceeds from the golf tourney will go to support the Cascades golf program.

“We’re extremely proud to be hosting the event this year again with Nick and Andie Taylor and Algra Bros. Developments,” said UFV golf head coach and Chilliwackian Chris Bertram. “We’re looking forward to having a lot of fun, playing some golf, and raising money for charities in the community and for our golf program.”

Heading into his 15th year at the helm of the Cascades, Bertram will preside over a season of change for the men’s and women’s golf teams. After historically competing in the PACWEST conference, the Cascades will join Canada West this season, and will participate in the first annual Canada West Golf Championships at the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna, Oct. 4-6.

Since the CW championship is just a single tournament, the Cascades have filled out their schedule with exhibition events on both sides of the border.

The UFV women’s team gets its competitive season started this weekend (Sept. 7-8) as they participate in the Chilliwack Women’s Amateur at their home course, Chilliwack Golf Club. The following week, the men’s team joins the women’s squad at the Pacific Lutheran University Collegiate Invitational (Sept. 13-15) in Dupont, Wash. Other fall-season highlights include the UBC Thunderbird Invitational (Sept. 23-24) and the UVic Vikes Shootout (Oct. 14-15).

The Cascades’ spring schedule is still a work in progress, but the men’s team will attend the Jackrabbit Invitational – an event hosted by NCAA Div. I program South Dakota State – in Boulder City, Nevada, March 6-7. The campaign culminates with the Canadian University/College Championships, May 26-29 (location TBA).

“It’s an exciting new chapter for the program,” Bertram enthused. “We’re really excited to be part of Canada West and to be competing in that conference against our national rivals, particularly here in B.C. with UBC and UVic.

“But beyond that, it’s a great opportunity for us to build a more competitive year-round schedule. For example, we’ll be playing in NCAA and NAIA events. One of the things we’ve always struggled with was keeping the best local players playing in Canada, and specifically here at UFV. That lure to go south is tough to combat. Now, we can say to our players, ‘You want to play against NCAA Div. I teams? Well, we’re doing that.’ You can stay close to home, get a great Canadian education, and have outstanding experiences on the golf course.”

The Cascades men’s team is coming off an outstanding 2018-19 campaign which saw them win the PACWEST title, take bronze at the CCAA national championships, and finish fourth at the Canadian University/College Championships.

Daniel Campbell, a two-time UFV male athlete of the year award winner, is back for his fifth year, and he’ll be looking to build on his program-record eight individual victories. He’s joined by a strong group of returnees including fellow senior Halen Davis, and third-years Kyle Claggett, Ben Whiton, Jacob Lucki, and Wyatt Brook. Brook, the 2018 PACWEST men’s player of the year and a CCAA All-Canadian on behalf of the VIU Mariners, transferred to UFV last spring and was the Cascades’ top finisher at the Canadian University/College Championships. Veteran Zach Olson is back for a sixth year with the team, and while he’ll be ineligible for the Canada West championships, he’ll be able to compete in UFV’s exhibition events. The Cascades also welcome a pair of outstanding rookies in Jacob Armstrong (Winnipeg, Man.) and Cody Bailey (Prince George, B.C.).

The UFV women’s golf team returns to competition this fall after a one-year hiatus, and like the men’s team, they’ll be among the contenders for the CW title.

Emery Bardock, an All-Canadian in 2017, returns to anchor the team after competing in exhibition events as an individual last season. She’s joined by another familiar face in Sharon Park, who was the PACWEST individual champion and an All-Canadian in 2016 and represented Canada at the 2017 FISU Summer Universiade. The Surrey, B.C. product rejoins the team after two years away.

Cascades rookies Sarah Lawrence and Natasha Kozlowski both figure to make an immediate impact for UFV. Lawrence (Snohomish, Wash.) has had a series of outstanding results on the amateur circuit, and won the Walla Walla Spring Invitational which UFV attended back in March.

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