Skyhawks score silver at golf provincials
Second place in the team event and low gross
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 06:00 am
The St. Albert Skyhawks teed up the ball for silver medals at the provincial 3A/4A high school golf championships in Fort McMurray.
Tyler Saunders, Salvatore DeRose, Joshua Barwick and Noah Lubberding finished four strokes back of first-place Strathmore in the team event with a two-day score of 438.
“It’s awesome. It means we’re one of the better schools in golf,” Saunders said.
Last year the Skyhawks won bronze.
“I was really hoping we could get the win this year but it’s really cool to get second,” Saunders said.
Monday the Skyhawks shot 218 at the Miskanaw MacDonald Island Golf Club and Tuesday they carded 220 at the Fort McMurray Golf Club.
Strathmore turned in rounds of 216 and 218 to finish at 434. Ponoka placed third at 454 with rounds of 219 and 235.
“The second day we did a lot better in relation to par. The first course was a par 68 because it was under construction and the second day it was par 72. I think we were three over the second day and the first day we were something like 15 over,” said Saunders.
Low gross playoff
The Grade 12 Skyhawk also tied Matt Codd for the low gross score at four-over-par 144, but lost the playoff to the Hunting Hills golfer from Red Deer.
“It was close. I had a shorter putt than he did. He made his and I was just feeling a lot of pressure and I just pushed my putt,” said Saunders.
The Glendale golf club member recorded rounds of 68 and 76 and Codd shot 72 both days.
Going into the last hole Saunders held a four-shot lead that unraveled with a quadruple bogey.
“I just had a couple of bad swings. I lost two balls off the tee shot,” he said. “It was a mistake hitting a driver off the tee. I really should’ve hit a three wood or an iron off the tee. I had a big lead and I should’ve just protected it rather than just keep it going.”
Saunders, 16, returned to the 18th hole to face Codd in the playoff.
“It was really difficult to get back into the mindset to play against him. I was really upset with myself but I tried my hardest to get it back together and get focused for the next hole and it just didn’t quite work out. I didn’t quite perform as well as I had hoped,” Saunders said.
Both players put themselves in good position to putt out for the win with shots onto the green.
“He left it about five feet short and made it and I missed my one and a half footer for par to extend the playoff,” Saunders said.
Earlier this summer, Codd ended Saunders' bid to three-peat on the McLennan Ross Sun Junior Golf Tour by beating him on the second hole of sudden death at last month’s tour championship at Wolf Creek Golf Resort.
“I’ve played with him a lot. He’s a good golfer,” said Saunders, who joined 2007 and 2008 champions Chase Teron and Kaitlin Allan as the only repeat winners in the tour’s 17-year history.
Bryce Melville of the Sturgeon Spirits finished provincials tied for at sixth at 149 with rounds of 73 and 76.
At zones, Melville and Barwick tied for second at 77, with Melville winning the playoff tiebreaker at the Links Golf Course in Spruce Grove.
DeRose shared 19th place at provincials at 160 (79-81), Barwick tied for 23rd place at 163 (84-79) and Lubberding wound up in a group at 174 (82-92) for 56th place.
The Skyhawks qualified for provincials with their second-straight zone championship victory. They finished first out of 23 schools at 233. The Edmonton Christian Lions placed second at 245 and the Bev Facey Falcons were third at 247.
Saunders, 16, also repeated the low gross winner with an 18-hole score of 76.
Another highlight this year for Saunders was shooting a 64 with a double bogey on 10 at the Highlands Golf Club in interclub play.
In previous years Saunders shot a 65 in Camrose, including a 29 on the back nine, on the McLennan Ross tour and at age 14 placed fourth at the Alberta junior championship.
His father, John, was a noted amateur golfer who finished Top 10 once at the Canadian championship.
“I’m a lefty and he is a righty. We get to play against one another on the course quite a bit and we have good battles. It’s nice to have competition like that. It’s a lot of fun,” Tyler said. “The best advice he’s given me is not get ahead of yourself and stay patient on the golf course and don’t be thinking about what you can shoot before you can shoot it. If you’re on the 16th hole and even par don’t think about shooting a 72, you’ve just got to think what you’ve got to do on your next shot.”
The fan of pro golfer Luke Donald is sifting through dozens of scholarship offers in preparation for the next stage of his promising career.
“I’m talking to a bunch of schools right now. I’m not sure where I want to go yet but I’m going to take a year off [from school] and we’ll see how everything pans out,” said Tyler, a member of Alberta’s silver-medal winning male golf team who finished tied for fifth in the individual competition at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.