Hurricanes Varsity Golfers Shine at New Brunswick Amateur Championships
July 15, 2014
Two years ago the varsity golf program at Holland College welcomed Justin Shanks, Brett Wilson and Eric Locke to tryouts for the Hurricanes golf team. Shanks and Wilson were childhood friends from Sussex, New Brunswick while Locke came to the College from Digby, Nova Scotia. The three succeeded in making the cut to the final five players selected for the varsity team that fall and have since become extremely close friends, classmates and teammates.
This past weekend the three were competing against each other as individuals in the prestigious RBC Dominion Securities New Brunswick Men’s Amateur Golf Championships at the home course of Shanks and Wilson in Sussex. The highly competitive event draws golfers from around the Maritimes and beyond to challenge for the title. The tourney started with eighty-one golfers vying for the crown playing a full 72 holes of golf. When the championship came down to the back nine on Sunday it was the three close friends going head to head for the title. The final round featured the three players exchanging leads with momentum shifts occurring hole by hole.
After his win Shanks said “Competing with Brett and Eric was fun and we enjoyed the round.” When asked what it was like to play against his teammates Shanks replied “It definitely took away some of the nerves. I knew if I didn’t win that I wanted one of them to take the title”. The fairy tale finish saw Shanks, Locke and Wilson in the final group on Sunday. “I couldn’t have asked for a better final round group with Eric who plays so well and having Brett with us was just amazing. I can’t even explain it”. Shanks summarized his tournament stating “I couldn’t ask for better way for this tournament to turn out. Getting to play with my two best friends for the last two days was great!”
Shanks added “I was playing well at Sussex in the competitive rounds before the Amateur with rounds of 67, 67, 70, and 70. I wasn’t expecting to go that low but knew I was playing well. My par in the fourth round on 13 was huge as I was in the hazard and it wasn’t looking good. But I knew things were going to happen so I just stayed patient and lag putted really well”
Locke was looking to go wire to wire to claim his first RBC Dominion Securities NB Men’s Amateur Championship, but local boys Wilson and Shanks wanted to push for the lead. Wilson started the day at one over par (+1), one shot back of Locke who held the 54 hole lead with and even par 216. Shanks eventually won the event by two strokes with Locke and Wilson tying for second place.
During their two years at Holland College the three comrades have won two Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association individual titles (Wilson in 2013 and Locke in 2014) and two team championships representing Holland College at conference tournaments. As well they have travelled to three national championships as members of the Hurricanes men’s team with top ten finishes in all three events.
Albert Roche, Athletic and Recreation director at Holland College, commented, “This is such a great story. Justin has worked so hard on his game and he deserves the recognition that comes with such a substantial achievement. From a varsity golf program perspective having Justin, Eric and Brett perform so well is gratifying. However, the bigger lesson here is appreciating how supportive they are of each other and their strong bond as teammates and friends. It has been a pleasure to foster this growth and watch them succeed as student-athletes and young men who represent our program so well.”
Shanks, Wilson and Locke have recently graduated from the Holland College’s Golf Club Management program with Shanks and Wilson returning for a third year to complete their Professional Golf Management program this coming fall.
For more information on the 2014 RBC Dominion Securities NB Men’s Amateur Championship, including full results, please go to http://nbga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/nbga14/event/nbga148/index.htm.
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