Oliver Rizun and the UBC Okanagan men were winners at the first event of the PACWEST golf season. The Heat golf program was able to return to the course this season after diligent fundraising efforts this spring. -Image: Ken Reid/Greystoke Photography

Rizun’s ace paces Heat men to victory

PACWEST golf season kicks off in style for UBCO men with team win at the Bear Course

The UBC Okanagan golf team is back.

The Heat men launched the new competitive season in style, capturing the team title at the PACWEST opener at Kelowna’s Okanagan Golf Club.

Highlighted by Oliver Rizun’s ace on Saturday, the Heat compiled an overall score of 572, good for a seven-stroke victory over the Fraser Valley Cascades.

Rizun posted the first hole-in-one on the eighth hole at the Bear Course since 2008, draining a four-iron from 251 yards/

Rizun teamed up with fifth year golfer and 2016 all-Canadian, James Casorso to form a strong one-two punch for UBCO. Rizun took third, finishing with rounds of 67-74 (-3 total / 141), while Casorso finished second after firing rounds of 72-68 (-4 total / 140).

The season-opening victory comes three months after the Heat completed a successful fundraising effort to keep the program running for 2017.

The rest of the UBCO men’s team consists of Nik Federko, Dylan Johnstone and Casey Sullivan.

“I was very proud of every member of the team for the first event of the season,” said Heat golf team coach Cass Hritzuk. “Our veterans didn’t disappoint and led by example which paved the way for our rookies to follow suit and allow the overall team score to be deep enough for the victory.”

The Heat women’s team finished second out of three teams with a two-day total of 347.

Second-year Management student Mckenna Lesuik led the way for the Heat with rounds of 86 and 85 while fourth year Human Kinetics student Emily Adams fired rounds of 95 and 81.

The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades women’s squad won the women’s division with a team score of 319 for two days.

Simply being back on the course this season was reason enough for the Heat team to celebrate.

After losing their funding from UBCO early this year, the students and members of the golfing community raised $27,000 through a series of fundraising events.

GolfBC, together with its parent company the Burrard Group, pledged the additional $33,000 needed to help the Heat field a team this season.