Men’s side has age, not golf experience
Look at the Medicine Hat Rattlers men’s golf team and you’d think they’re more experienced than they are.
There’s Derek Whitson and Kent Lesko, both older guys in their 20’s who you wouldn’t mistake for first and secondyear members of the squad. Whitson’s competed at the Paralympics, for goodness sakes. Twice.
David Coldham’s beard belies his first-year status. Brady Resch is only listed as a second-year player because he originally came to the school as a basketball player. He’s still doing that, by the way.
When it’s all said and done, fourthyear captain Matthaus Taylor is in fact the secondyoungest of the group. And he says while the home course advantage could play a role once play begins at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association finals Tuesday morning, it’s the maturity of the men that will go further in a year they really aren’t expected to contend in the team event.
“A bunch of new guys, maybe they don’t have a lot of college golf experience but they have experience in sports,” said Taylor. “I think guys on this team realize there’s more to life than golf. If they play a bad round, come out and play a better round tomorrow.”
Taylor himself has had to deal with that this season. Though he finished sixth individually at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships in Red Deer, shooting rounds of 79 and 75, he knows he can play better.
“It’s been interesting,” he said. “I’d say it’s mentally prepared me pretty well for this championship, it’s been frustrating to be honest. I’m just not scoring, haven’t got the putter working.”
Medicine Hat was sixth out of seven teams at the Alberta finals, four strokes back of a fourth-place finish. Nationals tends to be dominated by other conferences anyhow; University of the Fraser Valley (B.C.) is ranked first and will defend its title from last year. They’re led by returning individual national champ Daniel Campbell.
Ontario’s Humber College (third in 2017) is ranked second and Quebec champion Cegep Andre-Laurendeau is ranked third.
For Taylor to make some noise he’ll need to take advantage of his familiarity with the course at Desert Blume.
The 11 men’s and eight women’s teams plus a handful of individual qualifiers arrive this weekend, play a practice round Monday and start the 72-hole event Tuesday.
Matthaus Taylor follows through on a swing at the Desert Blume driving range Wednesday.