Gators Finally Win Elusive B.C. High School Team Title

Walnut Grove Gators Golf Team From L-R: Anthony Kim, Ben Whiton, Jaewook Lee, Brock Hertz, Andy Jang and coach Dana Ferguson, Beat Their Competition By 42 Shots At Ledgeview Golf Club - Image Credit Brad Ziemer/British Columbia Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

ABBOTSFORD -- It wasn’t what you would call a ‘win one for the Gipper’ speech.

Instead, Walnut Grove coach Dana Ferguson had just one simple message for his Gators golf team heading into the B.C. ‘AAA’ high school championships. The Langley team was the heavy favourite heading into the event and had finished second twice in the previous four years. So Ferguson simply told his team to finish.

“I said ‘boys, we have been close on several occasions,’” Ferguson said. “‘These next two days is about finish. Let’s get this done.’ It looks like they have come through.”

Yes, that would be something of an understatement. The Walnut Grove team of Jaewook Lee, Ben Whiton, Brock Hertz, Andy Kim and Andy Jang steam-rolled the opposition, winning by 42 shots at Ledgeview Golf Club in Abbotsford.

The Gators finished the 36-hole event with a team score of eight-over par. They closed out the tournament in style in Wednesday’s final round with a score of even-par 280. The top four individual scores count toward the team score each day in the tournament and the deep Gators squad didn’t count a score higher than 75 over the two days.

They were led by Kim and Jang, who both finished at one-under par. Kim won the individual title on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with his teammate. The Gators, who were runners-up last year to Coquitlam’s Gleneagle Secondary, knew they were the clear favourites heading into the event.

“We won the Delta Police tourney, we were 13-under for that one, and we also won the Fraser Valley’s, so we had a pretty good feeling going into this one,” Hertz said.

“It’s always the uncertainty of knowing what is coming from the other parts of B.C., but I knew if the kids played to their ability that we were going to be able to win this thing,” added Ferguson, who has coached the Gators for the past decade.

Ferguson said he felt especially happy for his three seniors -- Lee, Hertz and Whiton. Lee had perhaps the biggest smile of all the Gators. “I’ve been on the team since Grade 8 and I’ve been waiting for this banner,” Lee said. “It feels great to finally get it the last year of my high school career.”

The only race in Wednesday’s final round was for second place. St. George’s of Vancouver prevailed, beating Charles Best of Coquitlam by just two shots.

Ferguson was not taking any credit for his team’s win. “I am the organizer, I’m the guy who takes them to the course,” he said. “They are amazing golfers, but even better kids. They are exceptional to be around and a lot of fun.”

Ferguson’s players begged to differ, saying their coach played a huge role in their success. “He is just a real good support person,” Hertz said. “He is always there driving us and he is also really fun to be around. He loves to come out and play with us. He is just a really good guy. He gives us little pointers here and there. He’s a great coach.”

It is the first championship banner for the Walnut Grove golf program. “We have a few Fraser Valley championships on the wall, but this is going to be the sweetest of them all,” Ferguson said.

CLICK HERE for complete final scoring.

CHIP SHOTS: Tiffany Kong of David Thompson Secondary finished third in the individual competition with a score of one-over par. . .Teams from 21 schools competed in the event.