Gaels welcome victory at Queen’s Invitational

Inflated bench puts pressure on starters

Women’s team captain Kate Burnett sets the ball for a putt during the Queen’s Invitational golf tournament last Sunday.
Image by: Jake Edmiston
Women’s team captain Kate Burnett sets the ball for a putt during the Queen’s Invitational golf tournament last Sunday.

The Amherstview Golf Course was dry enough for a brush fire on Sunday during the Queen’s Invitational golf tournament. There was no fire, though; just fast-rolling balls.

Queen’s hosted six other university men’s teams and five other women’s teams for the annual event. The Queen’s women proved they deserved their upgrade to inter-university competitive club, placing first overall ahead of the Western Mustangs. The men placed third behind the second-place University of Ottawa Gee-gees and the first-place Waterloo Warriors.

Last year, the women’s team—then a competitive club—lacked the status to compete in the OUA championships. Team captain Kate Burnett said the promotion added some incentive this season.

“I’ve been here four years, working very hard to try and get this status,” she said. “It’s very exciting because last year we were in contention for second place in all of Ontario and we were disappointed we didn’t get to show it at OUAs.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams entered their first tournament with a bloated roster. Inter-university play typically consists of five-member men’s and four-member women’s teams, but Queen’s has a men’s team of 10 and a women’s team of five. The men’s starting roster combined for a team score of 296 strokes, but they also fielded an extra team of five that didn’t count in the competition. Men’s captain Mike Hossack said having additional players maintains competitiveness within the ranks.

“Having a big roster and some extra depth makes your game focus a little more consistently through the whole round knowing that there’s a whole bunch of guys coming after you’re spot. I could feel it today,” he said. “Yeah, it’s tough, and it adds more pressure. But it’s certainly not a bad thing for the team to have some extra guys, all of whom are playing very well right now.”

Head coach Bert Kea said the team’s depth creates healthy competition for the players and difficult decisions for the coaches.

“They have a chance to play themselves onto the top five,” he said. “In golf it comes down to scoring, you know who’s hot and who’s not. I don’t think they’re making it easy for the coaches.”

Kea said the challenge with playing team golf is the team itself.

“The nerves are going,” he said. “Especially in a team event, you’re trying too hard not to let the team down.”

Sunday also marked the first of two rounds of the eighth annual Bert Kea Cup, a competition for Kingston golf supremacy. The competition consists of two 18-hole rounds and pits the Tricolour against St. Lawrence College. The Queen’s Invitational acted as the first leg, and strong performances from the men and women thrust the Gaels one round closer to the cup named after their coach. The team will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to London next week for the Western Invitational.

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