William Morton Collegiate is the Zone 7 golf champion.
The four-man squad is heading off to provincials after having the lowest combined score at their zone tournament last week. Team member Drake Starr says the event was held in Neepawa.
"It's a pretty tough track. We just played really good golf. All the boys that I went out with played really well. I was actually surprised because they're used to the Gladstone course, where it's wide open," Starr continues. "The Neepawa course was probably a change of pace for them. Now, we're just excited for provincials."
The William Morton team finished in last place in the exact same tournament just one year ago.
"I wasn't really expecting a win. I definitely wasn't expecting to shoot as well as I did. I was coming off a -1 front nine, and then I birdied Hole 10. That was a motivation booster for me to get my score low," says Starr. "My final score was 76. A guy from Neepawa came out and shot a 70. I'm pretty good friends with the guy, and he was kind of happy to see us small-town boys take them down."
Starr says he and his teammates, DJ Meloney, Cash Thompson, and Riley Kleinsasser, are now preparing for their next task, which takes place at Pleasant Valley Golf Club.
"I've played Pleasant Valley a couple of times, so I'm just helping them get ready. I've been telling them what holes to use their driver on. Some holes out in Pleasant Valley are very, very tight. So, you don't want to hit your driver. You want to hit a club you're comfortable with that'll get you a good distance down the fairway," Starr explains. "I'm kind of coaching them a little bit. We do have a coach, but he's never played Pleasant Valley. So, he's looking to me to help the boys shoot low over there."
The Sandy Bay product says he's used to taking on a role like this as he's helped these guys with their golf game for a few years. Starr considers himself to be a leader in almost every sport he plays and says he loves to see his teammates succeed.
"It's a good thing to see them growing. A couple of the boys beat me sometimes, and I kind of feel proud of myself for helping them get out there and helping to fix their swings a little bit."
Starr hit his second hole-in-one of the year within a week of winning this zone tournament. He's grateful for the incredible month of September he's had on the golf course but wishes it could've happened a little earlier in the year.
"I'm kind of mad about how I've been playing recently. I'm not mad at the scores. I'm just thinking, 'Why couldn't I have shot like this earlier in the year?' While I was out in Halifax (For the North American Indigenous Games), I didn't play great. It's motivating now to see that I can shoot this low. Hopefully, I can shoot even lower next year. I went from mid to high 80s last year to now shooting in the low to mid 70s. It's a boost of motivation for me."
The William Morton golf team will take to Pleasant Valley on September 29 as they look to become provincial champions.
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