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Kelvin High School’s boys’ golf team is receiving more than a polite golf clap following its performance at the provincial championship.
The team, which includes Cole Ferguson, Carter Bradley, Tehvv Rudd, and Sean Szyda, finished first at the Manitoba High School Athletics Association provincial golf tournament with a score of 239.
The team and the school community is celebrating, and for good reason.
According to coach Tim Friesen, no school within the Winnipeg School Division has won the provincial title for decades, possibly going back as far as 1974. For Kelvin High School, the division, and the team, the win represents four years of continual improvement and growth among the players.
The four Grade 12 golfers have played together for at least four years and their golf game has steadily improved as a team. Previously, their best result at provincials was fifth place.
"This year, not only did we win but we won by nine strokes which is pretty impressive," Friesen said. "The first year their scores were in the 90s, and the next year it was in the 80s."
Going into the provincial tournament the players were uncertain about how their play would compare to the competition but focused on their strengths throughout the 18-hole round at Shilo Country Club on Sept. 25.
"We all came into it not knowing exactly what to expect with our own golf games," Bradley, 17, said. "I know I hadn’t been playing that much and from hearing what they’ve said — we haven’t been playing as much throughout July and August."
Despite a slower practice schedule leading up to the tournament, the team was confident they’d fare well against the other schools.
"We knew we had a pretty good shot going into it," Bradley said.
"But there were some schools that we knew we’d have to beat like St. Paul’s and Miles Mac," added Szyda, 16.
Major Pratt School of Russell, MB came in second at the tournament with a score of 248, and St. Paul’s High School finished third with a score of 250.
Although golf is typically an individual game, playing as a team has made the players stronger, Friesen said. The players regularly set up two-on-two matches within their unit during competitive tournaments and tend to push each other to make improvements to their game.
"Inside of Kelvin it gives them a chance to grow together as a team and it’s brought them together," Friesen said. "They’re cheering for each other, not just cheering for themselves. They all want to do well so the team will do well, and I think that’s what’s different about the provincial format of golf compared to the junior tournament play."
Friesen said this particular group of golfers is some of the best he’s seen come through Kelvin High School, and it’s not due to his coaching alone.
"They haven’t become better golfers because of me," he said. "They changed because they pushed themselves to be better golfers. I’ve taught them nothing," he said half-jokingly.
"Their integrity in the game is unquestionable, in my opinion. And I’ve seen them come a long way."
- DANIELLE DA SILVA - SOU'WESTER