By Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications

The University of Victoria Vikes women are currently second place after the opening round of the Vikes Golf Shootout held Oct. 15 at the Cordova Bay Golf Club in Victoria. Following the opening 18 holes on the Par 72 course, fourth-year Nicole Gargarella was second overall after shooting 5-over-par, 77.

RESULTS: INDIVIDUAL | COMBO | TOP 20

Gargarella made three birdies and was par on eight holes to be the top Victoria women’s player of the day.

“Nicole is doing great,” said David Rands, Vikes women’s golf coach, about the senior who also broke par for the first time in her round of the Western Washington Invitational last week. “Her overall ball striking has come two-fold. It’s just beautiful and her management on the golf course has been so good. Her confidence level is way up and that comes from just hitting the ball better and putting the ball better. She is such a hard worker on the team and has been for so many years so that’s now paying off.”

The Vikes are in second place in the team standings but will have a lot of catching up to do if they want to catch the first-placed UBC Thunderbirds who shot 310 collectively. The Vikes are 15 shots back with a team score of 325, while Corban University are in third with 345. UBC had all five of their players in the Top 10 including leader Shania Remandaban who finished with  73. UBC’s Esther Lee sits behind Gargarella after carding a 78 in Round 1.

“The course is hard and it certainly isn’t easy so UBC’s score of 310 is really good,” stated Rands. “We have to get better on the greens. We are shooting scores we shouldn’t’ be shooting but it’s only our third tournament and we have six more to go before Nationals and Canadians. We have some work to do but I think the players would agree.”

Fourth-year Vike Quinn Fitzgerald shares sixth spot after shooting 8-over-par, 80, the same as UBC’s Cecile Kwon. Fitzgerald shot par on 11 holes.

Vike Rhiannon Jones shot 83, while rookie Sukriti Harjai shot 85 and Melanie Murchison rounded out the team scores with a 91. First-year Vike Kat Hodgson played as an individual and shot 90.

“Tomorrow we have to make some putts,” added Rands about the Round 2 game plan. “We have to shoot a pretty special round and that is from everyone if we want to have a chance to win the tournament. They are all capable of it. There is so, so much work ethic and passion in this group. We just have to keep grinding. That’s all we can do.”

The Vikes Shootout also serves as the Canada West qualifying tournament for the Canadian University Golf Championship, hosted by Laval and held in May 2019 in Quebec.

The second and final round of the Vikes Golf Shootout will tee off tomorrow, Oct. 16, from 7:41-9:46 a.m. with the women teeing off Hole 9.

Vikes Golf Shootout Round 1 Results:

2 – Victoria (325)
2 – Nicole Gargarella (77) +5
T6 – Quinn Fitzgerald (80) +8
11 – Rhiannon Jones (83) +11
T14 – Sukriti Harjai (85) +13
T24 – Melanie Murchison (91) +19

Individuals
23 – Kat Hodgson (90) +18

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