Sports

Vigna wins big for SFU golf program

Coquitlam golfer Kevin Vigna shot his way into the Simon Fraser University sports record books on the weekend, winning the program’s first NCAA conference championship.  - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Coquitlam golfer Kevin Vigna shot his way into the Simon Fraser University sports record books on the weekend, winning the program’s first NCAA conference championship.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Kevin Vigna etched his name into the Simon Fraser University sports record books last weekend.

The 18-year-old Coquitlam golfer finished the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship tournament at even par, earning the Clan’s first NCAA conference championship in program history.

“It was a pretty good feeling,” said the kinesiology student. “I was pretty nervous. We were just going through our final exams so I didn’t have enough time to practice.”

Because of the lack of preparation, Vigna said he focused on simplifying his game.

He was feeling pretty good after the practice round, he added, and just concentrated on hitting the greens. A big boost of confidence came in the second round when he shot a 67, finishing up the weekend even par with 213 strokes.

“I knew my game wasn’t 100%,” he said. “There was no margin for error. Rather than make the tough plays I just tried playing simple golf.”

Vigna was chasing Western Washington University’s Kyle Shrader by two strokes heading into the final round after shooting a four over 75 in the first round. But the 67 in the second round put him two back from Shrader, who fell back in the final when he shot an 80.

On the way to victory, Viga carded 11 pars, four bogies, two birdies and an eagle on the 18th hole to stay even and earn the conference crown.

His showing helped SFU take fifth in the tournament and punched the team’s ticket to the NCAA Division II regional championships in Austin, Texas, next month. The Clan finished the season ranked 31 in the league.

“It is definitely going to be tough,” he said of the upcoming competition. “There are all the top teams in the region there. If we can find our stride we should be okay.”

John Buchanan, coach of the SFU Clan’s golf team, has been trying to attract young players like Vigna to the program.

Over the last couple of years, freshman have joined the club, putting up impressive results in some big tournaments. Freshman Craig Titterington, another Coquitlam golfer, shot an 83, 85 and 83 to finish the tournament 251.

Vigna, however, may be blossoming even earlier than the coach expected.

“He’s a quality player who’s already established himself as a top junior golfer in the Pacific Northwest when he won the PNGA junior title,” he said. “He has the ability to win and he just did again by winning the conference championship as a freshman.”

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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