by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
The Windsor Lancers golf team opened up the 2016 OUA season with a fair showing from both the men and women at the Western Invitational tournament hosted by St. Thomas Golf and Country Club this past week.
Both teams finished in the middle of the pack but Lancers head coach Adam Wagner said he was pleased with the result.
“We had some rookies playing in their first OUA event which was exciting for them, but I thought they held it together pretty well,” said Wagner. “On the ladies side the scores were a little higher than I would have anticipated. The greens were difficult in St. Thomas but I thought we hit the ball quite well. We struggled on the greens certainly with putting …but that’s why it’s the first event of the year.
Kelly Riccardi shot a team-low 85, Emily Stadder and Lexi Lawrence both shot 90 and Julie Garungun shot 100 to give the women’s team a total of 265. Riccardi is captain of the women’s team and said it was a good experience as the first tournament of the season.
“We left a lot of strokes out there which is really promising for the rest of the season,” said Riccardi. “We missed third by two strokes, so we know that we’re right there to start medaling [in the OUA].”
Michael Britton and Darren Whithouse both shot a 77 to share the men’s lead for Windsor. Jason Buliga and Graham Bryne were close behind by shooting 78 while Connor Teno shot an 87 to give the Lancers a total score of 310.
“The guys played great but green issues got us and we had some difficulty with that, but I don’t think their scores reflected how well they actually played or well we hit the ball,” said Wagner. “Our guys struggled coming home down the stretch and that’s going to be one of our focuses this week in preparation for next week’s event. We’re working out the kinks moving forward and we’ll try to put out better scores the next time out.”
The Lancers season will feature four more tournaments before the University of Windsor plays host to the 2016 OUA Golf Championships at Ambassador Golf and Country Club, Oct. 16-18.
Ambassador is a par 71 public golf course and has hosted several provincial and national championships since it opened in 2005. It has been 15 years since Windsor last hosted the provincial championships and Wagners believes the event is not just a big thing for the University of Windsor but for the city of Windsor itself.
“We’re going to have 140 athletes from around the OUA coming from approximately 17 schools,” said Wagner. “We’re thrilled to have it and it gives our players the upper hand. We play the golf course a number of times and that’s where we play and practice out of, so I think it’s going to be a big help for us and gives us a leg up on the competition.”
The Lancers next tournament is at Sawmill Golf Course for the Brock’s Men’s and Women’s Invitational near St. Catharine’s, Sept. 25.