PGSS golf team misses provincial medal cut
The gusty wind that swept through the narrow confines of Squamish Valley Golf and Country Club on Day 1 of the triple-A provincial high school golf championship subsided, but rain clouds moved in and it was wet Wednesday for the final round.
Wet enough to dampen the spirits of a group of five golfers from Prince George Secondary School.
“It’s definitely a tough course with a lot of wind coming through the valley here and tight fairways made shot selection tough on our guys,” said PGSS coach Justin Fillion.
“We had a decent day (Tuesday) but today the weather wasn’t the best and we struggled a little bit and didn’t shoot as well as we’d hoped. It’s a tough course that got some rain today and there’s a lot of good golfers here.”
The Polars – Parker Pretty, Matthew Magrath, Cody Bailey, Brophy Dunne and Landen Niemi – stood 16th out of 22 teams after the first round and likely dropped in the final standings, which were not available at press time. Fillion admitted the odds were stacked against the North Central zone champions, as they are every year, just because of the winter climate which delays the start of the season for northern B.C. golfers.
“A lot of these teams here got to be on the course at the beginning of March,” said Fillion.
“Some of the programs here are private schools that golf all year round and those kids on the team are there for a reason. We have golfers on our team but a lot of them play other sports and are busy with that throughout the winter.”
The PGSS team beat Williams Lake in the zone tournament a few weeks ago, winning the team event by 50 strokes.
Bailey, a Grade 12 PGSS student who shot an opening-day even-par 72 to move into a tie for third place in the individual standings, fell back to earth Wednesday when be carded an 80.
“It could have been a lot better,” said Bailey.
“If I could have shot even-par or better after Day 2 I would have been in the medals, but I was just a bit over that today.
“Today, the weather wasn’t the best, it was rainy and it was cold, and it was changing a lot, which we aren’t used to in Prince George. It was actually calmer than (yesterday) and I’d rather play in the rain than in the wind.”
Bailey is the only PGSS team member with an extensive golf tournament resume. The team has won the past four zone titles but this is the first time in four years the Polars have gone to the provincial tournament. Two of the Polars, Magrath and Dunne, played major midget hockey this past season for the Cariboo Cougars. Until 2018, Bailey played rep hockey at the midget Tier 1 level.
“The level of experience is very slim,” said Bailey.
“We kind of just put this team together and did a lot of fundraising and decided to come down and play.”
Bailey’s golf season began with a bang in late April when he won a Maple Leaf Junior Tour Ford Series tournament in Chilliwack. The 18-year-old native of Terrace won the Junior Simon Fraser Open in Prince George the past two seasons and last year he beat his own tournament record when he finished the two-round event at six-under.
“Cody is a step ahead of everybody, he’s a great golfer and thing about him is he’s willing to help the other guys on the team out in little parts of their game,” said Fillion.
“He’s definitely a leader on our team and you can see why he has success in these tournaments he’s been going to.”
Bailey will get back on the junior tour once school is finished and plans to try to defend his Junior Simon Fraser Open title, June 15-16. He also has on his hit list the Aberdeen Glen open, July 26-28, and the Men’s Simon Fraser Open, Aug. 17-18. He finished third in the Men’s Simon Fraser in 2018.
The Prince George Polars golf team, from left, coach Justin Fillion, Mathew Magrath, Brophy Dunne, Cody Bailey, Landen Niemi and Parker Pretty pose for a shot at the Squamish Valley Golf and County Club, where they played the B.C. Secondary Schools triple-A golf championship. The two-day tournament wrapped up Wednesday.