PGSS golf team misses pro­vin­cial medal cut

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Ci­ti­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

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.

HANDOUT PHOTO

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.

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