The best golfers are often known for mental toughness, but rarely do they need to show physical toughness.
Not so for Josh Wytinck, who led the University of Manitoba Bisons to the Canadian University/College Championship at Southwood Golf Club on Friday. The team captain had to suck it up after being nailed in the chest by a shanked shot from Western University playing partner Traynor Turkiewicz on the 13th hole. Turkiewicz drilling the unsuspecting Wytinck square in the ribs as he was standing well off to one side, looking down the fairway. After staggering about for a moment, suffering perhaps as much from shock as pain, Wytinck regained his composure.
"No problem," he croaked to the apologetic Turkiewicz and proceeded to par the hole.
The Bisons came into the final round leading the defending champion UBC Thunderbirds by two shots and steadily pulled away for a 12-shot win, their first since the tournament's inception in 2003.
Manitoba managed third-place finishes in 2004 and 2006. The team finished Friday's windy round at 4-over 292 to go 5-over on the week (1,157).
A crowd of fans, family and teammates was gathered around the 18th green as Wytinck and the final group approached. Wytinck saved par from a bunker on his final hole as a Bison competitor.
"It's a good way to end it, that's for sure. I'm eligible to play one more year actually, but there's no way I'll be coming back now, it's just too sweet of a way to end it," said Wytinck, who shot 2-over 74 for the round to finish the week at one-over 289. "To do that in front of a lot of people when I was thinking 'don't skull' it is pretty good, I'm very excited."
The final group's third member, UBC's Scott Secord, his partner on the last day of competition, captured the individual title with his 7-under 281 total for the 72-hole event.
"You got to think of yourself as a good player too, otherwise you're just going to be watching in awe of what they're doing," Wytinck said of playing with Secord. "This was the first time of the four days where I got a little worried about what other people were doing for a while."
Bison teammate Scott Mazur shot 71 -- the only round of the day under par -- Bryce Barr was even-par 72 and Brodie Gobin carded 75 on Friday. Charlie Boyechko shot an 8-over 80.
The four best scores count toward the day's total and Manitoba trailed by nine after Round 1.
"After the first round to come back and win by that many is huge and I couldn't be any happier," Wytinck said.
The wind was brisk throughout the round, challenging the teams with gusts up to 34 km/h. Bison coach Garth Goodbrandson told his players beforehand the great thing about it (the wind) is, you don't know what a good score is going to be.
"Having played in this kind of wind a lot I was pretty excited, to be honest, that it was windy. I heard a lot of guys on putting green say 'This is going to be rough,' " said Barr, a Southwood member.
Goodbrandson started the golf program 15 years ago. He's brought the school a long way from a time they didn't even have team shirts.
"Garth deserves more credit than we could ever give him," said Barr. "They (coaches) basically do this for free and it's a full-time job, so it's really amazing what they do. We owe them a lot."
Goodbrandson described it as a special journey.
"When we started the program I didn't believe we'd get 15 years in," he said. "Hopefully there are 15 more.
"We had lots of great wins over the years but this is the hardest-working team. It's a great feeling to see all their hard work pay off. They really deserved this victory."
Mazur finished tied for fifth in the individual chase at plus-3 291. He and Wytinck were named to the championship's all-Canadian team.