By Gabriel Rodrigues
As the Laurentian men’s golf team begins the 2014 season, their coach is certain his squad has enough talent and experience to place high within the OUA Championships.
“We are making a push this year,” said Chad Brousseau. “Six of our nine guys have all played in tournaments, if not championships at this level in the OUA, so we definitely can be competitive.”
Last year, the Voyageurs finished the team event tenth out of 18 schools at the OUA Championships. However, as individual golfers, Laurentian had two athletes, Chase Woitowich and Jordan Couture, finishing within the top 30.
Brousseau, who is in his fourth-year as coach, said those results are surprising considering his squad didn’t get enough tournament practice leading up to the Championships, as the Voyageurs only competed in one invitational prior to the OUAs.
However, this year, Brousseau said his team will be competing in four events before the OUA Championships, which include the Western Mustangs Invitational, University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University Invitational, and Guelph Gryphons Invitational.
“It is difficult for us, since we are so far north,” said Brousseau. “All the other schools are in the Greater Toronto Area, so it’s much easier for them to simply pack up and head to the golf course. We need to book hotels and try to accommodate rides, but I’m hoping this format will help the guys.”
With nine players being named to the Laurentian men’s golf team, Brousseau realizes he has to make some decisions leading up to the Championships, as there is only five competitors permitted for each team.
“We have some guys that are very solid and they’ve played well in the past,” he said. “The way OUA golf works is there is a team of five players and after each day, the top four scores are taken to get the overall score.”
Although the team score is important for Brousseau, it doesn’t mean his players cannot do well individually.
“Because it is golf, you can go in as an individual and win the whole tournament,” he said. “At the end of the day, it is your score that matters.”
Brousseau said of the returning players for the Voyageurs, Woitowich will be one competitor to look out for because not only did he finish within the top ten of the OUA Championships last year, but was also named a second-team all-star.Although expectations aren’t too high for Woitowich, as his school schedule has left him with little time to practice, the third-year Laurentian golfer will do his best to perform for his team and himself.
Woitowich said golf is a mental game, and the idea before each competition is to keep calm and “try not to let your nerves get the best of you.”
“I feel pretty nervous on the first hole of every tournament,” said Woitowich. “But, once you get your round going, it is just like any other day on the golf course. Finishing top 10 at OUAs last year was good for me because the conditions were tough, so I proved to myself that I can grind it out if I need to and post a decent number.”
The OUA Championships will be hosted by OUIT from Oct. 20 to 21 at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club.
For golf tournament results, visit the Golf Association of Ontario at www.gao.ca.