Under unpredictable weather conditions, the Martlet and Redmen golf teams hosted the McGill Open this past weekend. The wet winds are characteristic during this time of year and did not discriminate when affecting performance.
“The first day was really windy and it affected just about everybody,” Redmen Junior Jonathan Whelan explained. “If you went with a little bit of spin [to the left], the ball would end up 30 yards left. It was […] hard to mentally be able to still play.”
The climate didn’t get the better of the teams as the Martlets, who finished third in the five-team field, continued their string of solid performances, while the Redmen finished a respectable fifth out of 11. The two-round tournament, held at Club de Golf Le Victorien in Mirabel, Quebec, was the second RSEQ-sanctioned event and fourth tournament of the season.
Justin Smith, a sophomore Arts student from Toronto, Ontario, finished tied for seventh and shots +3 to lead the team, while Whelan, a Science student from Rothesay, New Brunswick, finished one shot behind as the second-best Redmen golfer in the tournament. Both, however, shot considerably better in round two compared to round one, an improvement that Whelan attributes to nicer weather and added time on the course.
“It was a lot calmer [in terms of] conditions and because it was a little bit wet, everything just held on the greens,” Whelan said. “It also helped [on the second day] because I didn’t get a practice round in before.”
Juliette Pollet, who has been the team’s highest-placing finisher in all four tournaments so far this season, once again led the Martlets. Pollet, a first-year Management student, finished +9 over the weekend and had an especially strong Sunday, finishing seven shots better than her total in round one, good for fourth overall.
“With Juliette coming in, it added another strong player to the team,” Head Coach Robert Dubeau said. “With only three scorers out of four players that count […] it’s given us a chance to be up there. At our first tournament, we finished second on the first day and tied for second on the second day […] so it’s made a big change to the women’s program.”
Rookie Alice Hwang and sophomores Valentin Bougaud and Alisha Corringham finished 10th through 12th. The Martlet team shows promise as a very young squad that should remain a fixture near the top of the RSEQ leaderboard for the coming future.
“They’re a young team […] but if we add one more good player, we have the chance to be really competitive,” Dubeau said, while also hinting at potential internal development. “Alice has great potential. It’ll take another year but […] she could be a major player on our team and bring us a long way.”
Both McGill squads will travel to Laval for the RSEQ Championship from Oct. 5 to 7. A top-five finish for the Redmen and a top-three finish for the Martlets are certainly within the realm of possibility, but a berth to the National Championships will require a determined effort from the Redmen.
“Each round is a separate tournament […] so finishing second or third in any particular round gets you a lot of points in terms of who goes to lead the board at the end of the season,” Dubeau said. “We started really poorly […] but things are looking good—I’m much more pleased than I was three weeks ago.”
Although the squad faces an uphill battle, Whelan believes that a strong finish is within reach.
“It’s happened in the past where McGill has shot [well] the last two days of provincials and gone to Nationals, so it’s possible to do it again,” Whelan said.