Muskie golfers nab NorWOSSA gold yet again

Joey Payeur

Kendyn Faragher’s main rival is coached by none other than someone of his own kin.
But while his relative’s protégé surpassed Faragher individually, the Muskie golfer can comfort himself with the fact he’s the top player on what is now the best boys’ team in NorWOSSA for the second-straight season.
Faragher’s round of 82 was good enough to tie for second place individually with Nodin Carlson (St. Thomas Aquinas Saints) in the NorWOSSA season-finale held Friday at Kitchen Creek here.
Jacob Lugli of the Dryden Eagles topped the field with a 77.
But Lugli (coached by Faragher’s uncle, Al Markowski) and his Dryden teammates had to settle for second in the team competition with a score of 361–a whopping 27 shots back of the Muskies, who carded a 334 total as a group.
Fort High had entered the day tied with the Saints for first place in the team standings. But their 10 points for finishing first Friday gave them 27 overall to repeat as NorWOSSA boys’ champs.
The Saints, who were third Friday with a 363 total score, wound up second overall with 22 points while the Eagles took third (15).
Faragher’s result also gave him 270 points for the season, which was good enough to capture NorWOSSA bronze for individual boys.
Lugli got the gold medal (295), with Carson settling for silver (290).
“Kendyn has been very consistent this year and obviously a third-place finish is very good,” said Muskie assistant coach Chris Sinclair, who stood in all season for head coach Jonny Lundon, who was unable to make any of the tournaments due to work obligations.
“He’s a kid who wants to play his best all the time and he has great potential,” added Sinclair.
“He’s dedicated to improving and that has shown from last season to this season, as well as from the start of the season until now.
“He knows what part of his game he wants to improve on and is willing to ask for tips to do that,” Sinclair said.
“I think he has gotten better off the tee box, limiting his misses, which gives him the opportunity to score well each hole.”
Six of the seven Muskies who played Friday proved familiarity with their home course was a major factor, as each recorded their personal best score of the season to lock up spots at the NWOSSAA championships next Tuesday (Oct. 3) in Thunder Bay.
The top team there, along with the top two individuals not on that team, then advance to the OFSAA championships Oct. 11-12 in Kingsville.
“Obviously, I’m very proud of this group,” lauded Sinclair.
“They showed resiliency by finishing the NorWOSSA competitions strong, which hopefully we can carry that into NWOSSAA next week.
“Most of the students played last year, so knowing what it takes to win goes a long way and I think benefitted our team on Friday,” he added.
Cole Kowalski, just a week after a bout with tonsillitis, gritted out a round of 83 to finish tied for fourth individually with Muskie teammate Kaleb Bruyere.
It also gave Kowalski a fourth-place finish for the season with 264 points.
Bruyere, who was eight shots better than his previous best this season, ended up seventh overall (237).
Mikel Ward, meanwhile, had a nine-shot improvement from his earlier standard–firing an 86 to place seventh on Friday and 10th for the season (201).
Fellow Muskie Matthew Gerstner was just one off his personal best with a 94 on Friday that gave him 15th place for the day, but that was good enough to get him the last team spot for NWOSSAA by putting him 11th for the season.
The quintet that will make up the team won’t be going alone, though.
Aiden Wielinga went from two previous 98s to a 91 on Friday that left him 13th for the day and the season (171).
But Wielinga was able to grab the third and final NWOSSAA berth available to players not already having qualified as official parts of the top three NorWOSSA teams.
Gordy Scott, though unable to land an NWOSSAA spot himself, easily was the most improved Muskie on Friday.
Having carded rounds of 113 and 116 in the two previous tournaments, Scott fired a personal best score of 96 to improve his previous top mark by 17 strokes.
Scott landed in 16th place Friday and 23rd overall in the season standings (105).
“We couldn’t have asked for a better finish–finishing that far ahead of second place on the day was very unexpected,” Sinclair admitted.
“Throughout all the competitions, every team was fairly close, which was why I was so surprised,” he explained.
“Having said that, I’m not shocked as I knew all of our guys have been improving throughout the season, and those are all scores that I think they expect from themselves,” Sinclair said.
“And, yes, it helps when you’re playing on your home course and you are more familiar with the course.”
Preparation was the major building block in the Muskies’ domination Friday.
“It just goes to show that practice helps,” Sinclair stressed.
“We were able to get to the range and putting green at Heron Landing last week, and play a couple of rounds before the competition at Kitchen Creek,” he noted.
“Everyone has been dedicated to working on things that they need to throughout the season, and I’m very proud of their execution when it mattered the most,” Sinclair added.
“It’s always a little more stressful playing under pressure as you tend to overthink things a little or grip the club a little too tight,” he reasoned.
“But for all of them to come in with their lowest round of the season, under those circumstances, was very rewarding for them.”
The challenge only becomes larger in Thunder Bay but Sinclair has faith in his contingent.
“We are going into NWOSSAA as a confident group,” he remarked.
“We will get into Thunder Bay on Monday and play a practice round to give the kids a chance to get familiar with the course.
“Last year, we lost to St. Ignatius by only three strokes,” Sinclair recalled.
Although the Muskies sport three players Grade 9 and 10, Sinclair said the team does have experience at this level.
“Everyone has improved from competition to competition, so we hope the trend keeps up,” he noted.
“We will get out to both Heron and Kitchen this week for some last little touch-ups and then head to Thunder Bay next week with the goal of finishing first.”