Hard to crack UFV golf team

Aaron Pauls (left) and Connor McLellan prepare for their next shots on hole seven at CC&CC during UFV golf team tryouts last week. - Greg Laychak/TIMES
Aaron Pauls (left) and Connor McLellan prepare for their next shots on hole seven at CC&CC during UFV golf team tryouts last week.
— image credit: Greg Laychak/TIMES

University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) golfers played a couple of rounds last week at the Chilliwack Golf Club to vie for a spot on the 2014-15 varsity team.

Coach Chris Bertram said there was a lot of talent present for the men’s and women’s tryouts last Tuesday to Thursday.

“We’ve got four or five promising recruits working their tails off out there for a spot today,” he said Wednesday.

With 15 men trying for eight slots, an abundance of skill creates its own unique circumstances for the male category.

“There’s going to be some good players that aren’t going to make the team,” said Bertram. “That’s a good problem from a coach’s standpoint, but makes for some difficult decisions.”

It’s no wonder there are so many golfers trying to get on the UFV team. Bertram has led the team to a history of successes over his 10 years of coaching at the school. In the last eight years leading up to this season UFV men haven’t finished lower than second, according to Bertram. And the squad has won four conference championships, including the last two.

Accomplished 23-year-old Chilliwack golfer Aaron Pauls has been a part of that recent streak, contributing to the team win last year in the CCAA Golf National Championship and placing second in individual play.

“My expectations for this final season are to win a provincial title and head back to Quebec and defend a national championship,” said Pauls. “As far as individually, I always expect myself to be in the hunt for all our events . . . to be close to the lead down the stretch and to have a chance to win.”

Returning for his last year, Pauls said he will move on to study his Masters in Kinesiology at the University of Nevada after this season at UFV.

And while Pauls finishes off his Fraser Valley career, a new promising Chilliwack golfer joins the UFV team this year.

“Coming in as a freshman on a national championship winning team is an honor,” said initiate Connor McLellan. “I believe we have a stronger team this year than last and I look forward to trying to defend our national championship.”

McLellan won the trial tournament by three strokes to secure his spot on the eight-man roster, and said he was confident for the season ahead.

The kinesiology student has been golfing since he was six, and racked up some impressive finishes in the Niagara Falls Canadian Junior Boys Championship and the Canadian Amateur Championship in Winnipeg this past summer.

McLellan will likely be around next year when the PING CCAA Golf National Championships comes to Chilliwack to the same course these young golfers played last week.

Coach Bertram said the team looks forward to having home course advantage, but added they can’t look too far ahead. First they will have to defend their championship title in Quebec City this October.

“Best case scenario, we’re two-time national champs defending when we come back here,” said Bertram.



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