Holmes And Thunderbirds Victorious At Golf Canada Championship, Victoria Vikes Second

The 2015 Canadian University/College Champion UBC Thunderbirds

via press release

VANCOUVER – Evan Holmes shot a 1-under 69 in the final round of the Golf Canada Canadian University/College Championship on Friday to clinch the tournament's individual crown and lead his UBC Thunderbirds squad to the team title.

Holmes, who hails from Calgary, finished atop the leaderboard at even par 280 (70-75-66-69), completing the tournament with two rounds in the 60's. On Friday, Holmes had three birdies and just two bogeys, on No. 1 and No. 10.

"My short game was pretty good all week and that carried on to today," Holmes said in a Golf Canada news release of his victory-clinching round. "I hit a lot of green-side shots well after some not so good shots."

On the final hole, he stuck his approach shot to within a foot of the hole. The tap-in birdie put the finishing touch on his third tournament victory of the season, tying the school record held by Cory Renfrew.

"It was pretty nice just walking up to the green knowing that I kind of had it won."

Holmes birdied the eighth and ninth holes as well. He also tied David Sheman's UBC mark of most rounds played in a year with 36.

Evan Holmes Of The UBC Thunderbirds Took The Individual Crown In Helping His Team To The Overall Victory

In the team competition, the Thunderbirds won by a 12-shot margin over the Victoria Vikes. The Vikes men needed to shoot under par in the final round in hopes of over-taking UBC for the top spot. Despite their efforts they were not able to accomplish that task but shot a final round score of 288, eight over par to finish with an overall score of 1155, 35 over.

"The boys played pretty solid today," said Vikes head coach Justin Clews. "Their goal was to come here and win the event but coming in second was an important experience for the first-year players". Three out of the five Vikes competing at the event were rookies - Lawren Rowe, Andrew Funk and Mike Griffin.

The Thunderbirds finished with a four-day result of 23-over par 1143 (282-296-283-282). The 1143 score is the lowest for a 72-hole event in school history; however, it was achieved on a par-70 layout, whereas the previous best result of 1148 was set on a par-71 course setup at the 2013 Golf Canada tournament. 

"We're really excited to have this championship, it's a very difficult one to win each year with the quality of competition in Canada making improvements and the Golf Canada rules being more lenient than NAIA rules as to what players universities can use to participate," said UBC head coach Chris MacDonald. "We stuck with the roster we used most of this spring and it paid off with great support in the 4-5 spots. We had consistent play, which is what you need if you expect to win.

"I'm also happy for Evan Holmes to get his third win of the year – he struggled at nationals last season but used it as motivation and worked hard last summer, he won three golf tournaments for UBC this season individually and was our most consistent player all year; finishing with a win at this prestigious event will give him even more confidence heading into next season."

The Second Place University Of Victoria Vikes Men's Golf Team - Image Courtesy UVic Vikes

Defending champion Scott Secord (Calgary) finished four shots back of Holmes in a tie for fourth at 4-over 284 (68-73-72-71). In his round of 1-over 71, the senior had birdies on 12th and 16th holes, a bogey on the fifth, and a double bogey on the 18th.

Conner Kozak (Vernon, B.C.), the other UBC senior playing in the event, closed out his final season with an even par 70 on Friday to end up in a tie for 10th at 8-over 288 (73-71-74-70). His round was comprised of four birdies (on 4, 8, 12 and 16), two bogeys (on 2 and 10) and a double bogey on 18.

Jack Wood (Banff, Alta.) tied for 20th overall at 13-over 293 (73-77-71-72). For Friday's round, he signed for a 2-over 72. Wood eagled the par-5 12th hole and added birdies on 3, 10 and 16. He bogeyed 5, 6, 7, 17 and 18 and had a double on 15.

Trent Abraham (Hamilton, Ont.) completed his first season as a Thunderbird by carding a 2-over 72. A steady Abraham notched a birdie on No. 2 and had bogeys on Nos. 3, 7 and 13 on Friday. He tied for 31st in the final individual standings with a score of 15-over 295 (71-78-74-72).

The Golf Canada event marks the end of the 2014-15 UBC men's golf season. The tournament victory gives the Thunderbirds three on the campaign, which are the fourth most in a season in school history. UBC also claimed first at the Western Washington Invitational in September and the Concordia (Ore.) Cavalier Classic in October. The T-Birds placed eighth at the NAIA championship.

Holmes and UBC rewrote the school's record books at the Western Washington event, which ran Sept. 22-23. The team established a school record for a 54-hole team score of 35-under par 829, while Holmes shot 202 over three rounds at the event, bettering the old individual 54-hole mark by two strokes.

Conducted by Golf Canada, the Canadian University/ College Championship recognizes the exceptional talents of student-athletes from across the country. The 2016 edition of the event will be hosted by Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville, B.C.

Click HERE for final scoring

- with files from Golf Canada