THE University of Manitoba Bisons conquered the biggest challenge of the week so far Thursday at the Canadian University/College Golf Championships.
The Bisons men’s golf team started the day in third place but put together a stellar 3-under round, which was the best team score of the day. Their performance put them atop the leaderboard for the first time after three rounds with a score of 1-over, ahead of the UBC Thunderbirds (3-over) and Western Mustangs (10-over).
Heading into today’s final round at the Southwood Golf and Country Club, Manitoba is in position to win its first national title.
The third round marked the first time the top three teams (UBC, Manitoba and Western) were paired together. But Manitoba captain Josh Wytinck assured that the presence of the other contenders was not a distraction.
"I usually pay attention to what everyone is at in my group but this week I’ve just tried to pay attention to the process of my game, as cliché as that sounds," said Wytinck, who fired a 2-under 70. "I really haven’t had any idea what other guys have been at and it’s allowed me to go about playing my game."
Wytinck’s performance has him at 1-under for the week and he currently sits in a tie for third place on the individual leaderboard. The other three scores that contributed to Manitoba’s total were from Scott Mazur (2-under), Charlie Boyechko (even) and Brodie Gobin (1-over).
Gobin got into trouble early in his round, going plus-6 on his first six holes, including a triple-bogey.
Incredibly, the third-year accounting student managed to come back with five straight birdies to save the round and score for his team. It’s Gobin’s first time at the national championships and admitted to being nervous.
"I was 6-over, standing on seventh tee, there was kind of nothing to lose at that point so I played the hole, made a birdie and told coach Garth (Goodbrandson) ‘Just a few more holes like that and I’ll be back,’ " said Gobin. "I was just looking forward to the holes ahead and played them the best I could. I definitely felt more nervous today than the last two days."
Going into today’s final round, the Bisons felt good about the depth of their five-man squad and the pressure of playing alongside the other two contenting teams. Goodbrandson praised his team’s composure.
"To think that yesterday we threw out a 76 and today we threw out a 73, you got to be really happy about that," said Goodbrandson. "I thought they handled themselves fantastic. It’s a different experience, something they probably haven’t been in being in the last group."
After two days of dominance from UBC’s Scott Secord, the third-year student did not have his best day but still managed to shoot a 71 Thursday. The score put him at 12-under for the week and he currently leads the individual competition by 10 shots.