Members of the Muskie golf team were able to card some better scores at the second event of the NorWOSSA regular season last Thursday at the Beauty Bay course in Kenora but they'll need some luck if they are to qualify for NWOSSAA here next week.
The black-and-gold nabbed a second-straight fourth-place finish in the boys' division, with the first team totalling a combined score of 384 to finish behind the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints of Kenora (322), the Sioux Lookout Warriors (347), and the Dryden Eagles (365).
The Muskies were slated to be in Red Lake yesterday for the regular-season finale, with the outcome not known as of press time.
Head coach Chris Sinclair was hopeful his team would be able to find some magic and shoot well in Red Lake so his charges could qualify for the NWOSSAA championships being held here next Tuesday (Oct. 2) at Kitchen Creek.
“It is going to take everyone on the team to have a very good round,” he stressed.
"Obviously, it would be great for each member of our team to qualify for NWOSSAA, especially with it being at our home course.
“Having said that, I do hope some of our older team members play well enough on Tuesday to qualify,” Sinclair added.
“And I hope that our younger members use this year as a learning year and continue to improve for next year.”
How qualifying works for NWOSSAA golf is that each team is made up of five players. Of those five, the top four scores get recorded.
Each week, both teams and individuals are assessed points based on how they finished.
The top three teams from NorWOSSA advance to NWOSSAA, along with the top four individuals who are not on a qualifying team.
“In order as our team to qualify for NWOSSAA, we must finish first as a team on Tuesday in Red Lake and Dryden or Sioux Lookout must finish in fourth,” Sinclair explained.
“That scenario would put us at 16 points and the team who finishes fourth would end up with 15 points.”
As for last Wednesday in Kenora, the Muskies finished one stroke ahead of the Kenora Broncos as a team, who wound up fifth (385).
As a team, Fort High was led by Mikel Ward, who carded an 86.
Gordy Scott (91), Aiden Wielinga (96), and Dawson Allen (111) rounded out the Muskie scores that made up the team total.
Cole Trimble was fifth among the black-and-gold with a 114.
The second Muskie team was led by Tyrell Kempf (102), followed by Jake MacKinnon (107), Grayson Councillor (114), and Alex Armstrong (137) to combine for a team total of 460.
Roman Spuzak shot a nine-hole score of 75.
On the girls' side, Muskie Tashie Broadbent carded a nine-hole score of 80 while Hallee Nugent posted an 83.
“Most of our golfers saw an improvement in their score from the first competition in Dryden, which is great,” Sinclair enthused.
"Having said that, obviously, I was very happy and proud of them as the main goal is to keep getting better.
“And the only way to get better is to play more,” he reasoned.
“We went out to both the driving range at Heron Landing and played nine holes at Kitchen Creek early last week, and were able to make some minor adjustments.”
Sinclair said having success moving forward will hinge on how his players manage the course.
“The key to having success in golf is trying to stay away from the bigger numbers each hole,” he noted.
“It is all about course management and playing smart," he stressed. ”You don't always have to aim right at the pin on your approach, or try to go over the creek on your drive.
"Sometimes, the middle of the green or laying up is the smart play.
“It's hard to do, even for professionals," Sinclair conceded. "But when you can understand that, your score tends to be a little better.”