Despite a rocky start, the Gaels Men’s and Women’s Golf teams finished their opening weekend in good standing after two tournaments last weekend.
Following a disappointing round at the Brock Invitational held at the Sawmill Golf Course in Fenwick on Sept. 23, the Men’s team took first place at the McMaster Invitational on Sept. 24 at Chippewa Creek Golf and Country Club in Hamilton.
The Queen’s Men’s team won the tournament with a top combined team score of +13, led by a round of 72 (+2) from Daniel Abraha, Comm ’26.
Ryan Crowley, ArtSci ’25, followed Abraha’s lead by shooting a 73 (+3).
“[I] knew winning was a real possibility if we could tighten up our bad swings and bad scores,” Abraha said in a post-tournament interview with The Journal. “Even though those scores weren’t the ones we had in mind, it wasn’t that bad compared to the field.”
The Men’s team finished fourth, missing the podium by just two strokes to Laurier.
Abraha confided in Assistant Coach Jamaal Moussaoui to know where to hit the ball throughout the tournament in Fenwick.
“Sawmill is a funky golf course. Some tee shots you don’t know where you’re hitting,” Abraha said. “On my third hole, Jamaal tells me that ‘you’re going to have to trust me.’ I’m not a huge fan of hearing someone say that on a tee shot.”
Though the Men’s team didn’t play to par, they knew they had the ability to win at McMaster the next day.
“We stayed for the awards ceremony [at Brock], and none of us want to feel that way again,” Abraha said after missing the podium on Saturday.
Saturday wasn’t as grim for the Women’s team, as they made the podium at the Sawmill Golf Course. Katie Neville’s individualseventh place effort was an 83 (+12). This helped place the team three strokes shy of second place, behind Laurier.
“Everyone struggled with their putting that day,” returning golfer Rachel Demaine, ArtSci ’25, told The Journal. “We had a positive attitude for a funky course and played to the best of our abilities.”
The Women’s team has a full roster for the first time in years as they look to make noise in the OUA this season.
Both the Men’s and Women’s teams finished better than they anticipated on Saturday, leaving both squads with optimism heading into next weekend at Waterloo and Laurier.
Head Coach Kristen MacLaren praised both teams and acknowledged tough conditions each team faced on both days.
“Saturday wasn’t ideal, the guys struggled—the course was a little wonky, the greens and pins were a little crazy, not exactly what we wanted in our first tournament, but [the Men’s team] were only a couple shots off third place,” she said. “Both teams struggled with their putting, quite a few 3 putts.”
“We gathered Saturday night. We knew we had the players and the team to go low. They knew they left a ton of shots out there on the course,” MacLaren said.
MacLaren feels confident that the teams have a great chance at winning this season.
“The guys played extremely well at McMaster, despite a crazy windy day,” she said. “I think both the Men and Women are a great group, and we have high expectations going into OUAs.”
The Gaels’ next tournament is the Waterloo Warriors Tournament at Cambridge Golf Club on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. This is in combination with the Waterloo and Laurier Tournament the same weekend. The OUA Championship will be held at Grey Silo Golf Club in Waterloo on Oct. 14.
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