Up to par

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The domination continues, and coach Jack Pearse would be proud. Gajan Sivabalasingham and Devon Rizzo led their teams to medals at the 2014 OUA Golf Championships Oct. 20–21 at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club in Oshawa, Ontario.


Sivabalasingham claimed the men’s individual gold to match his team’s gold with a two-day even par of 144. Rizzo topped the Warrior women with a fourth-place, nine above par 153, unable to pick up a second individual OUA gold in a row, but going home with a team silver.


The final scores were close for the most part, with the men’s team (591) taking gold over the Ottawa Gee-Gees (595) by four strokes and third place Brock Badgers (599) by eight. The Warrior women barely edged out the Western Mustangs 484 to 485 for second place, but were far behind the three time champion Toronto Varsity Blues (461).


The women’s team medallists echoed those of last year, with each team taking the same place. Those three teams were significantly ahead of the rest of the field. Rizzo’s 153 (78,75), was just behind Toronto’s Anna Peric and Western’s Jessie Mercer at 152, and four strokes behind gold medallist Sarah Dunning (149) of the University of Toronto. Stephanie Bothwell of the Warriors finished tied for 11th place at with a 166 (82,84), followed by Stephanie Chu’s 15th place 170 (89,81), and Jane Tang’s 171 (84,97), good for a 17th place tie. The entire team finished solidly in the top half out of the field of 41 golfers.


Rizzo was brilliant, knocking in five birdies over the course of the tournament, at one point hitting two in a row. She earned another OUA first-team all-star selection. The team performed excellently on the ninth and 18th holes on day one, hitting a collective birdie on each, thanks to Bothwell’s under-par golfing on both holes.


The gold medal winning men’s team all finished in the top third of the 81 golfers in their field. Sivabalasingham (70,74) beat out the competition with an incredible on par 144, two strokes ahead of Western’s Harris Bundy, Brock’s Brett Mitchell, and Toronto’s Ryan Tsang. Brandon Pearce tied for eighth with 148 (72,76), David French scored a consistent 75 each day for 150 and a 15th place tie, Daniel Wilson’s 151 (78,73) was good for 21st, and Dylan Cave finished tied for 27th, having scored 154 (76,78).


Pearce knocked in five birdies over the two days, and Sivabalasingham led the field with 30 pars out of the 36 total holes. The team hit collective eagles on holes two and nine the first time through, and finished the second day by getting birdies on four straight holes. Waterloo won through consistency: despite not ranking among the top teams for getting under par, they led all teams in meeting it, keeping their score low. Sivabalasingham and Pearce were names first- and second-team all-stars, respectively, and head coach Dave Hollinger was named the OUA men’s golf Coach of the Year. It was the team’s fifth OUA gold medal in 12 years.


The teams dedicated their impressive seasons to Jack Pearse, former head coach of UW golf and founding member of recreation and leisure studies, who passed away in 2013. Pearse led the team to multiple championships in his tenure starting in the late 1960s. He was beloved through the athletics department for his tireless and enthusiastic support of sports at Waterloo.
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