Kwalikum Secondary School’s golf team has claimed another Island championship, and the smiles on the faces of this year’s top six as they gathered around the hardware spoke volumes about the program and the connection forged on the links.
It was the Kondors’ third straight Island title — three years ago they won the AAA Islands and the next year the AA, and last year’s was canceled because of the teachers’ strike.
“Never. It never gets old, and it’s great to see these kids compete,” a chuffed KSS athletic director and team coach Butch Gayton confirmed Thursday when The NEWS caught up with him.
Gayton is in his 14th year as a teacher/coach at KSS and his fourth season overseeing the school’s golf team, which continues to benefit from its connection with the Brent Morrison Golf Academy out of Pheasant Glen Golf Resort, site of Wednesday’s Island final.
KSS has won the Island golf title five times in all over the years and clinched the AAA provincial title back in 1998.
ON WEDNESDAY at ‘The Glen, the Kondors top four came in at 304 over 18 holes.
Cole Morrison led the charge for KSS with a tournament-best even-par 72, and Santiago Bouyra was right behind at 74, with Gr. 9s Blair Stewart and Anthony Trozzo both coming in at 79.
The Shawnigan Lake Stags grabbed second place with a 315, and the Raiders from Highlands third at 326. The top three teams advance to the AA provincial Championships slated for Arbutus Ridge May 26-28.
“It’s not our best scores of the year but it was certainly enough to get the job done,” Gayton said of this squad’s fourth tournament win in six outings this season, adding “real solid play by our top two, and the Gr 9s, they played really well too they just had one hole that hurt them with both carding triple bogey 7s (on par 4s).”
A 1:30 p.m. shotgun start, the players have no way of knowing how the others are doing.
“You just bear down and get at it.”
The course was in good shape after heavy rains on Monday.
In high school team golf each team sends out five players with the top four scores counting.
Austin and Santiago will be on the field for KSS at the B.C.’s, but the hard part of being a high school golf coach comes to light again for Gayton — who had as many as 11 on his team earlier in the season — today.
“I’ve been putting it off and putting it off, at this point I still don’t know who it’s going to be — I’ve got three Grade 9s fighting for the final two spots in the B.C.s,” said the coach. “It’s a very hard decision and one that will have to be made Tuesday after the team practice round at Eaglecrest.”
“Oh yeah — we sure are,” Austin, who carded three birdies on Wednesday, answered with a grin when asked if the Kondors are looking forward to the B.C.’s.
GAME ON: The 18-team AA BC High School Golf Championships are slated for Arbutus Ridge May 26-28 and being hosted by Shawnigan Lake Secondary School.