Muskie golfers hope for home-course advantage

Jamie Mountain

It is one day to rule them all.
That was the mindset of the Muskie golf team ahead of the NWOSSAA championships yesterday at Kitchen Creek here (outcomes weren’t known as of press time).
No previous season scores count at NWOSSAA, meaning anything can happen if you get hot and shoot well enough­.
“It is a one-day tournament so all it takes is having that one good round and you have a chance of advancing to OFSAA,” Muskie head coach Chris Sinclair noted Monday evening.
“Having said that, there are going to be some good golfers at this event,” he warned.
“If you look at the scores posted from some of the kids during NorWOSSA play, you can see that there is some very good competition.”
Muskies Mikel Ward (84) and Aiden Wielinga (95) both carded respectable rounds at the NorWOSSA season-finale last Tuesday in Red Lake and thus qualified for NWOSSAA here yesterday in the individual boys’ competition.
Sinclair was more than pleased with how the pair have progressed over the course of the season–and their high school golf careers.
“I have been very pleased with the both of them this season,” he enthused.
“Mikel is [in] Grade 11 and has played with the team for all three years of his high school career thus far,” Sinclair noted.
“Aiden is a Grade 12 student and is only in his second year with the team.
“I think if you look at how they both have improved over the course of the past year, it’s great and should both be proud for what they have accomplished this season.”
The top team at NWOSSAA yesterday, as well as the top two individuals not on that winning team, qualify for OFSAA, which is slated for Oct. 10-11 in Oshawa.
As for the NorWOSSA season-finale last Tuesday in Red Lake, Fort High finished fourth as a team yet again by carding a combined total of 405 and missed out on qualifying for NWOSSAA in the team competition.
Their total was 21 strokes worse (384) than their fourth-place finish at the second event of the season in Kenora back on Sept. 20.
The St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) were tops among all schools yet again in Red Lake, combining for a 331 total and a NorWOSSA-best 30 points in the standings.
The Sioux Lookout Warriors were second (363) for 19 points while the Dryden Eagles were the final squad to qualify for NWOSSAA with a 374 total (17 points).
Gordy Scott (110), and Dawson Allen (116) made up the rest of the Muskies’ scores that combined for the main team total.
Tyrell Kempf was fifth, shooting a 120 to just miss out on the top four scores that made up the team total.
As for the Muskies’ second team in Red Lake, Cole Trimble led the way with a 95.
He was followed by Jake MacKinnon (109), Grayson Councillor (114), and Alex Armstrong (139).
In the individual competition, Nodin Carlson of the Saints nabbed NorWOSSA gold with 292 points.
Dryden’s Jacob Lugli took silver (281) while Jordan Brown of the Saints earned the bronze (276).
“The weather conditions in Red Lake weren’t very good,” Sinclair noted. “It was cold and raining off-and-on all day.
“So I think the biggest challenge that they [the Muskies] overcame was playing in the bad weather conditions, and–for some of them–still being able to post their lowest score of the competitions is quite an accomplishment,” he added.
Looking ahead, Sinclair is hopeful the team will keeping working to improve and really start to hone its golf skills.
“Just like any sport, the more you play and practice your skills, the better you are going to get,” he reasoned.
“The thing with golf is that it is such a mental game so being able to play smart is huge,” he stressed.
“Having said that, I think the more golf our younger members play, the more they are going to understand the game,” Sinclair added.
“It’s not about how far you can hit the ball, it’s about how you manage your shots on the course,” he noted.
“So just having that understanding goes a long way.”