Vikes at home for national golf championship

Saanich golfer a favourite as national university golf championship at Cordova Bay Golf Course this week

Megan Woodland is the captain of the UVic Vikes golf team

Megan Woodland is the captain of the UVic Vikes golf team

Coming off the course after another round at Cordova Bay Golf Course last week, Megan Woodland was greeted by nearly everyone she passed.

Golfing at Cordova is a daily routine for the third-year University of Victoria student. Woodland also happens to work there, but these days the Vikes team has a free pass to the course.

Cordova Bay is hosting the Canadian University and College golf championship this week, Tuesday (May 29) through Friday.

“The course conditions are in really good shape these days but it usually is, it’s what (Cordova Bay) is known for,” said Woodland, a graduate of Claremont secondary school, who still lives in the Cordova Bay area of Saanich.

The 20-year-old won the women’s National Athletic Intercollegiate Association golf championship in Tennessee last week, shooting an even par in a field of competitors from 100 schools in the U.S., and is the hometown favourite to win this week’s Canadian championship.

But she wasn’t always this good. This year the psychology major improved from average to excellent, winning four of the seven university tournaments, twice finishing in second.

“For me, I stay pretty calm on the course and don’t get too mad,” Woodland said. “The biggest thing has been reducing the margin of my errors, making me more consistent.”

Woodland says this with a confident but relaxed tone. Vikes coach Bryan Carbery, however, can’t help but get excited about Woodland’s development as an elite varsity golfer in Canada.

“(Woodland) has come so far in three years, is consistently shooting under par, never gives up, and has come from behind for three wins this season, which is a big deal,” he said.

What’s making Woodland stand out on the course is her ability to overcome errors mid-game, Carbery added. “She’s learned to correct herself during a round. That’s a huge deal for a golfer.”

With the Vikes already a leg up hosting the nationals, the picture got even better when Alberta import Carson Kallis won the men’s NAIA championship in Oregon on May 25, storming to the lead with a five-under par on his final 18 holes.

Kallis, along with fellow Albertan Darrin Hupfer, are both playing really well for the Vikes and come with strong backgrounds, having each won junior championships in their home province.

“The thing about our team that people might not realize is how close we are,” Woodland said. “We’ve travelled to a lot of tournaments and it’s rare to see the type of dynamic our team has; it’s really positive.”

The Vikes team consists of five men and four women. Joining Hupfer and Kallis are twins James and Sam Holland and Dylan Cann, while Woodland will compete with Alyssa Herkel, Victoria Kondrak and Brynn Tomie.

A 10th Vike, Michaela Misener, will compete solo.