The dream of qualifying for the all-Ontarios just wasn't to be for Muskie golfers Mikel Ward and Aiden Wielinga last week.
Ward, in Grade 11, and Wielinga, in Grade 12, finished shy of advancing to OFSAA at the NWOSSAA championships held last Tuesday (Oct. 2) at Kitchen Creek.
The all-Ontarios are slated to begin today and run through tomorrow in Whitby.
Ward carded a 93 while Wielinga shot a 107 to finish 20th and 36th, respectively, in the individual boys' competition at NWOSSAA here last week.
“They didn't play their best rounds,” Muskie coach Chris Sinclair admitted of both Ward and Wielinga.
“I think there is a lot that came into play," he remarked. ”Obviously the weather—it was a tough day for everyone.
“And then I guess just the fact that they didn't get out and practice as much as they would have liked in having that advantage of playing at home.”
Another factor Sinclair thought may have hindered his golfers was the pressure of playing well on their home course.
“I think maybe they did experience some sort of pressure,” he conceded.
“I think when you're playing on your own home course, you kind of have that feeling that you should do well because you know it so well or because you play it consistently, where as everybody else in coming to play it for the first time.”
Devin Lawson of the St. Ignatius Falcons (Thunder Bay) nabbed gold in the boys' individual competition by shooting a 75 at NWOSSAA.
Nodin Carlson of the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) and Matthew Cho-Chu (Falcons) finished tied for the silver with a 76 to round out the contingent that advanced to OFSAA.
In the team competition, meanwhile, St. Ignatius finished first, with St. Thomas Aquinas placing second and the Sioux Lookout Warriors winding up in third.
Sinclair believes the experience both Ward and Wielinga gained this season can go a long way for them moving forward.
“With Mikel who has qualified for NWOSSAA, whether it be individually or as a team the last couple of years, I think the experience is going to help him tremendously for next year,” he enthused.
"Then knowing what level he has to be at to kind of be at the top of the leaderboard so, yeah, I think it's great experience when you can qualify for any event and get that opportunity.
“It's a great accomplishment for both of them,” he added.
Moving forward, Sinclair is hopeful all of his returning golfers will use next summer to work on their games and get more familiar with shot-making as it will pay dividends next season.
“Golf is such a short season and we've seen a lot of younger kids come out [for the team], so I'm hoping that we'll continue to get those numbers,” he said.
“I am hoping to see more kids throughout the summer, including everyone that was on the team this year, and that's the only way they're going to improve and see their scores lowered,” Sinclair reasoned.
"I know Fort is trying to get a good junior program going, and it's good to see younger kids like that come out.
“However, I would like to see more of them at the course or out on the range in the summers to develop their skills so that come September, they are ready to play and it's not just learning [how] to golf,” Sinclair concluded.