The UBC Thunderbirds were in top form this week as they competed in the 2023 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men’s Golf Championships in Arizona.
This four-round tournament had players competing individually as well as part of a team, with five UBC teammates putting the school at the top of the scoreboard.
Most of the UBC golfers – which included John Paul Kahlert, Hudson LaFayette, Dylan MacDonald, Aidan Schumer, and Mackenzie Bickell – finished the tournament within a few strokes of each other, playing pretty consistent golf across each of the four days.
Kahlert experienced a bit of a back-and-forth as he finished the first round three-over-par, but rebounded the next day with a score of -2. Thursday was particularly challenging for the Maple Ridge golfer, who tallied two double bogies on the back nine, ending the round at four-over-par. But Kahlert finished up strong on Friday, recording another two-under-par for a final score of +3.
On the individual front, he secured a spot tied for 17th place. But with the help of his teammates, Kahlert was able to taste gold as the UBC team finished in first place with a score of +5, getting a comfortable three-stroke lead over the second-place Master’s University team.
UBC coach Chris MacDonald said that it was a testament to the team’s resilience that they managed to snag the victory despite what he called “a tough start” to the fourth and final round of the tournament.
“Hudson made a couple of really good pars on 16 and 17, Aidan after his double just played a really solid round of golf, and luckily JP was four or five under around the 8th hole,” said MacDonald.
“They just didn’t quit and I’m really proud of them.”
M⛳️| University of British Columbia is your 2023 #NAIAMGolf National Champion!! @ubctbirds claim their 2nd Red Banner in program history with a team score of (+5). Coach MacDonald shares his thoughts:#BattleForTheRedBanner #CollegeGolf #PlayNAIA pic.twitter.com/L2xweUUXxY— NAIA (@NAIA) May 19, 2023
This is only the second time that UBC has won the NAIA Men’s Golf Championships, with the first victory taking place in 2008.
The team will now be setting their sights on the 2023 Golf Canada Canadian University/College Championship, which takes place in Ontario from May 30 to June 2.
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