If any Muskie golfers want to compete on their home course this season, they’ll have to earn the right to do so.
The NWOSSAA golf championships are set for Heron Landing Golf Course on Sept. 30.
But unlike at the OFSAA level in other high school sports, the home team does not automatically qualify for the event.
“I believe it’s the top three teams and the top two individuals outside of those teams points-wise that make it into NWOSSAA,” said Muskie golf coach and Heron Landing manager Brian Johnstone, whose squad kicked off action today at the Beauty Bay Golf Course in Kenora.
“I’ve made it clear to the guys that I would like to have a team make it in for NWOSSAA,” Johnstone added.
“Judging by the guys we have, that’s a pretty good possibility,” he noted.
“They’ve just got to stick to their game and play like they can, think positive, and keep going.”
The tentative lineup for the boys’ team of four returning players (including three NWOSSAA participants last year) and three newcomers will be led by Tyson-Skylar Morrisseau.
A silver-medallist at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games in Regina, Morrisseau had last season end on a down note at NWOSSAA, when he pulled out after eight holes due to what Johnstone referred to at the time as “health reasons.”
“Tyson’s been playing a lot of golf this summer, and is healthy and playing pretty good,” noted Johnstone.
“We need him to pick up the reins as a team leader and shine through.”
Kendyn Faragher, last season’s Muskie golfer-of-the-year, also is back after an impressive tie for seventh at NWOSSAA.
“Kendyn made great strides last year and I’m definitely looking forward to him being back out there this year,” said Johnstone.
The third NWOSSAA veteran on the roster is Sheldon Jourdain Jr., who finished 40th in Thunder Bay after only finding out the day before that he and fellow Muskie Austin Geurts had qualified due to the withdrawal of two Red Lake golfers.
“I’m looking to see what Sheldon can do, along with [fellow veteran] Brandon Morrison,” Johnstone remarked.
Sheldon Kelly Jr. was the one certain newcomer slated to be on the team as of press time.
“Sheldon’s been hoping for a couple of years to eventually be on this team and now that he’s in high school, he gets his chance,” said Johnstone.
“He’ll bring depth to the team.”
Aidan Wielinga and Cam Gushulak were the other two rookies possibly joining the squad, although it was unconfirmed at press time whether they had submitted their paperwork to play for the Muskies in time for today’s tournament.
Beauty Bay is a preferable jumping off point for however many newcomers carry the Muskie torch to Kenora today.
“It’s a good course but definitely not the most difficult course we’re going to play this season,” stressed Johnstone.
“They’ll be able to get their feet wet and also with the travel time, they’ll get used to that before we go on our longer runs [Sept. 17 in Sioux Lookout and the Sept. 22 NorWOSSA finale in Red Lake].”
It will be another boys on the bus look for the team this year, with no Muskie girls’ team competing due to a lack of interest.
“It’s a bit of a disappointment,” Johnstone admitted about the non-existent turnout of females to help the Muskie cause.
“I’ve been trying but I can’t seem to get them to come out.”
The OFSAA boys’ golf championship is set for Oct. 14-15 in Windsor, with the top two individuals at the NWOSSAA event qualifying for the provincials.