Kelowna's Haley Cameron was part of UBC's winning effort in women's golf at the NAIA regional playoff this week in Texas.

Kelowna’s Cameron key in T’Birds’ win

UBC women's golf team wins regional title in Texas to qualify for NAIA nationals later this month in Nebraska

Some of the best golf of Haley Cameron’s career was instrumental in helping the UBC Thunderbirds secure a berth in the 2013 NAIA national women’s golf championship.

The 21-year-old Kelowna product and KSS grad finished second in individual play this week in Victoria, Texas, as the T’Birds cruised to the team title at the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Championship.

It’s third straight year UBC has won the regional title which carries with it an automatic berth into the NAIA national finals May 21 to 24 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Cameron’s two-day score of one-over par 145 (74-71) was second only to Thunderbirds’ teammate Regan Wilson (139) who finished at five-under par.

UBC claimed the overall team title by a convincing 13 strokes over California State-San Marcos. Cameron said team chemistry was vital to the T’Birds’ success.

“The five of us have so much trust in one another on the golf course that it makes it easy to play confident, aggressive golf,” said Cameron, who is joined on the winning squad by Wilson, Kylie Barros, Stephanie Wong and Casara Hong. “We had high hopes coming into our regional championship this year, but breaking the team record set last spring by 10 strokes was an incredible feeling and proves how our hard work and team unity is paying off. It’s exciting to head into nationals with this kind of momentum.”

Cameron, who is in her fourth and final campaign with the Thunderbirds, was encouraged by her own game, one that has progressed with a more relaxed approach.

“I’ve been able to play with a lot more freedom in my final season, and it’s led to the most enjoyable college golf of my four years,” she said. “This week my ball striking was probably the best it’s ever been. Hitting greens was easy, and I was able to start playing for birdie instead of par. I’m looking forward to two weeks of training with this group to keep it going into our NAIA championship.

Cameron is the reigning champion and two-time winner of the Kelowna Golf and Country Club’s Ladies Open.