VIU golfers play with ‘moxie’

Vancouver Island University’s golfers open the Pacific Western Athletic Association schedule Saturday (Sept. 17) in Kamloops.

VIU golfer Matt Cella tees off during tournament action last season at the Nanaimo Golf Club.

VIU golfer Matt Cella tees off during tournament action last season at the Nanaimo Golf Club.

Vancouver Island University’s golfers are excited about the onset of another season. In fact, they wish it had started a month ago.

Coach Kevin Oates said his players all had great success in off-season tournament play during the summer, with Kristian Hrabowych, for example, winning the Nanaimo Amateur.

The guys were on top of their game then, Oates said, and he expects them to still be in fine form as they open the Pacific Western Athletic Association schedule Saturday (Sept. 17) in Kamloops.

The M’s are beginning defence of the B.C. championship they won last year. It was a down-to-the-wire finish in 2010, as two VIU golfers drained birdie putts on the 18th green of the final round of the season to win the title by two strokes.

“It shows that we do have the moxie to still make the putts or the shots that we need to make when everything’s on the line,” said Matt Cella, captain of this year’s team. “Which is really what golf comes down to – all the practice and the casual rounds that you play are all preparations for that one moment when everything’s on the line.”

Now that the players have seen what they can do, said Oates, they’re anxious to see if they can go one better.

“The big excitement this year is the chance to go one step further and finish up with a good score at nationals after doing well at provincials,” said the coach. “There’s some unfinished business there, so to speak. So I think that’s really got them motivated more than anything else.”

The Mariners golfers are a confident group, Cella said. They’re also a tight-knit team, which he said is more important on the golf course than one might think.

“We all have respect for each others’ games. We all know that we’re very capable, confident golfers. If you’re not having the best day, then your teammates are going to back you up.”

The M’s won’t be hosting any tournaments this season. They hope to qualify for nationals, which will be held in Charlottetown next month.

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