Named winner of the prestigious President’s Cup award for his outstanding achievements in academics and athletics a year ago, Brady Stead of the Camosun College Chargers trumped that honour last week in Chilliwack.
Stead, 22, finished fourth overall in a field of 72 and led the Chargers to gold in the team portion of the Ping Canadian Colleges Athletic Association team golf championships at the Chilliwack Golf Club.
Stead had claimed the PACWEST individual title to spark Camosun to the team title two weeks earlier at the same Chilliwack course. He was named Men’s Player of the Year and a PACWEST All-Star for his four-tournament total of 572. Camosun won the provincials by a whopping 54 strokes over the host Fraser Valley Cascades.
The Chargers overhauled the Niagara Knights in the final round last Friday to win the national men’s title for the first time since 2000, when they claimed the inaugural CCAA tourney.
“We finally did it; it’s been a long time coming,” said Stead. “Last year in Quebec City, we were tied for the lead after Day 1 and three strokes back going into the final round when they cancelled the tournament because the course was unplayable (after a storm) so we didn’t get a chance. That gave the veterans a little extra motivation this year.”
Stead finished at 6-under 70-68-72-210 and said the Chargers had a good feel for the greens after competing in the provincials.
“Everybody showed up on that final day and played to the best of their abilities considering the circumstance of feeling pressure,” said Stead, a VSS Panther grad who helped VSS make provincials for the first time since former Panther and PGA Tour golfer Chris Baryla did it 12 years prior.
Earlier this season, junior Jeff Riches of Victoria made his Charger debut and took first place as Camosun clinched their third consecutive PACWEST tournament win at the Camosun Invitational at Bear Mountain in Victoria.
Stead shot rounds of 67 and 70 to finish in second place, one stroke behind Riches.
There were 14 men’s teams at nationals, including defending champion Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown’s Holland College Hurricanes). Camosun was ranked No. 1.
Joining the fifth-year Stead on the Chargers were Riches, senior Mac Keats of Cochrane, Alta., senior Grant Maskiewich of Smithers and junior Matt Matheson of West Vancouver.
They totalled 860 strokes over three rounds, defeating Niagara by eight shots. Niagara led by three strokes on the final day, but Camosun made a charge on the back nine.
Stead said the Chargers’ highest score on Day 3 was a 73 by Riches, showing just how deep the Camosun lineup goes. Being the top Charger in his last year was very rewarding for Stead.
“As an individual, there’s no better feeling than knowing the work you put in as a junior growing up and even the first few years on the Camosun team when I struggled and didn’t give up; kept working on things and hoping it would eventually work out, there’s no better feeling for an athlete.”
Stead gives major props to head coach John Randle.
“Almost everything that I know about the golf swing I have learned from my coach – John Randle. We worked very hard on my first few years on improving my golf swing and although I struggled a little in the past, John did not stop believing in me and I cannot thank him enough for that.”
Camosun took silver last year in Quebec City and bronze two years ago in Boischatel, Que. The 2016 nationals are in Charlottetown.
“It’s still kind of a surreal feeling, even just walking to my truck to go running around, knowing that I’m a national champion, is definitely a different feeling, but it’s a good one. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
Team Canada Development Squad player Etienne Papineau of Cegep Champlain St. Lawrence Lions was the CCAA individual winner at 10-under 73-65-68-206, two shots better than Stephen Brown of Lambton College Lions in Sarnia, Ont.
Stead, who used to work at The Rise Golf Course in Vernon, will focus on studies with hopes of more golf in the future.
“I’m going to finish my business degree and keep working on my game in the spring and hopefully play in the RPGA Nationals in Parksville, which is open to all universities and colleges.”
He wants to keep playing, but isn’t sure what his schedule will look like: possibly Europe.