Brent Forster - RDC
Red Deer, AB – It was an exciting finish to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Golf Championships and all student-athletes battled the elements on the final day of competition at Alberta Springs Golf Resort as they attempted to climb the leaderboard. After the final putt, two RDC student-athletes won individual medals while all three Red Deer College teams also earned hardware.
Medicine Hat College's Becky Martin shot a 76 on Sunday for a two-round total of 150, to earn individual women's gold and help her team capture gold (330). Concordia University's Kennedy Turcotte fired an 84 and earned individual silver (166), helping her group win bronze (344). RDC's Shaye Leidenius recorded an 84 on the final day for a two-day total of 167 and individual bronze, and was an important golfer in leading the Queens to silver (332).
Michael Harrison from the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings won individual gold after shaving off one stroke from Saturday (72) for a weekend total of 145. Chase Broderson of the RDC Kings finished Sunday with a 78 and captured silver (151), while also leading the Kings to team bronze (631). Noah Lubberding from MacEwan University was one stroke behind Broderson (152) for individual bronze, helping his group take gold (606). The Concordia University men won team silver (631).
The RDC Mixed Golf team finished in the gold medal position. Medicine Hat College won silver and Concordia University earned bronze.
Leidenius, an individual bronze medallist, appreciated the first place finish as part of RDC's Mixed Golf team despite the cold temperatures. "It is really good to pick up the gold for mixed team play," says Leidenius. "But, it was a struggle out there with the weather, grinding to try and make pars. It was cold and snowing but you have to play through it. It is Alberta weather. It was important to keep moving to stay warm."
Broderson felt that consistency was the key to earning a silver medal. "I played good and kept it in the fairway. I didn't make a double bogey all tournament, so that helped out a lot," says Broderson. "In the cold, it was important to come prepared and have the right gear, and stay focused. It was nice to finish in the top three in my first ACAC Golf Championships and it was also cool to win gold in the mixed division."
RDC Golf Head Coach Scott Bergdahl recognized the difficulty on the ACAC golfers with the windy and cool weather. "The conditions were extremely difficult out there and it was a grind," he says. "All of the players toughed it out."
Bergdahl was pleased with the perseverance of the RDC golfers. "There were some positive pieces and some predictable pieces with the higher scores. All-in-all, I am extremely proud of the team. They dug down deep," he says. "They are all skilled golfers so we talk about the psychology aspect of the game and being tough all the way through. Giving up is easy in golf, but giving up strokes can cost the team in the end."
The ACAC Mixed Golf teams were added to competition in hopes of growing the game. "We brought in the mixed teams as a demonstration sport to be more inclusive of male and female golfers who may not be the top golfers. As a result, we were able to grow our ladies' side a little bit," he says. "Even though we've only had the mixed teams for two years, I think that its really paid off in terms of having more females into the program. I think it's working."
Bergdahl was awarded the 2018 - 19 ACAC Golf Coach of the Year. "It's humbling because your peers vote on that," he says. "But there are six other coaches in the room, and their staffs who deserve to win that as well."
The Red Deer College Queens and Kings have qualified for the 2018 PING Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Golf National Championships, October 16 – 19, at Desert Blume Golf Club. Medicine Hat College will host the prestigious event. Mixed team play is not part of national competition.
"We are fortunate enough that the women's and men's teams will be going to nationals. We will have three of our top ladies and five of our top men going, yet to be determined as to who they are," says Bergdahl. "We are super excited that we are all going. We have a great men's team that brought it today but got beat by a better team."
The following is a summary of the ACAC Golf medal and award winners, recognized at Alberta Springs Golf Resort, Sunday evening.
Individual Men's Champions
Gold – Michael Harrison (University of Alberta Augustana Vikings)
Silver – Chase Broderson (Red Deer College)
Bronze – Noah Lumberding (MacEwan University)
Individual Women's Champions
Gold – Becky Martin (Medicine Hat College)
Silver – Kennedy Turcotte (Concordia University of Edmonton)
Bronze – Shaye Leidenius (Red Deer College)
Male Golfer of the Year – Michael Harrison (University of Alberta Augustana)
Female Golfer of the Year – Becky Martin (Medicine Hat College)
ACAC Coach of the Year – Scott Bergdahl (RDC)
Gold – Red Deer College
Silver – Medicine Hat College
Bronze – Concordia University of Edmonton
Gold – MacEwan University
Silver – Concordia University of Edmonton
Bronze – RDC Kings
Gold – Medicine Hat College
Silver – RDC Queens
Bronze – Concordia University of Edmonton