Losing Kate Griffiths was a big loss for the RDC golf team, but head coach Scott Bergdahl was 100 per cent behind her decision.
“She received a scholarship from a private college in California, worth around $42,000, so it’s something she couldn’t turn down,” said Bergdahl. “It doesn’t kick in until next year but she will move to Phoenix in November to work on her game and potentially look toward turning pro after college.
“It’s a big loss for us, but a great opportunity for her.”
Griffiths spent one year at RDC and finished second in both the ACAC and the CCAA championships.
But even with Griffiths gone the RDC women’s team will be competitive with Shaye Leidenhius of Ponoka, who plays out of Wolf Creek, and Hayley Phillips of Carstairs
Leidenhius is coming off a solid season, which saw her put together several top 10 finishes on both the McLennan Ross Junior Tour and the Maple Leaf Junior Tour. She finished second in the McLennan Ross final at Wolf Creek with an 82.
“Shaye’s record speaks for itself,” said Bergdahl. “She has all the skill. She just needs a little work on her swing technically and to work on the mental side a bit. But she gives us an exceptional player to replace Kate. And with Hayley I think we could have a better women’s team than last year.”
Phillips helped her high school team win the provincial 1A-2A girl’s championship in 2013, but she hasn’t played much since.
“She has some talent it’s just a matter of bringing it back out of her,” said Bergdahl. “She’s been working with us for half the season and she’s developed quickly. I’m excited for the team.
“Our goal is to go to the Nationals.”
On the men’s side, Cole Morrison, who finished 10th at the ACAC playoffs, is the only returning starter from last season.
“He’s the only returnee out of our top five or six,” Bergdahl added. “He’s come full circle. He’s matured as a young man and a golfer. He did a lot of work in the off season and we expect good things from him. He’s our captain and he’s taking it very seriously.”
Logan Crawford, who red shirted last year, is also back.
One of the more interesting players on the roster is former club professional Colton Craner of Lacombe. However, he has yet to receive his amateur status.
“That’s the biggest problem right now,” said Bergdahl. “We’ve made a number of phone calls to get it. Golf Canada is on our side and the Canadian PGA has done what they need to now it’s a matter of getting the group together to see if he meets the criteria and reinstating him. Hopefully it happens quickly, but sometimes it’s a longer process.”
Bergdahl is hoping he gets a call today so Craner could play in the ACAC’s South Regional in Olds, which runs Saturday and Sunday.
Ryan Skoreyko of Lacombe just joined the team Thursday with six-foot-nine Alex White of New Sarepta also a later addition.
“Ryan has been playing and all indications are he’s a good player while Alex hasn’t played much for a couple of years, but he was a plus-four handicap at one time.”
Cody Clipperton of Airdrie is the other member of the team.
“Overall I like our men’s team,” added Bergdahl. Who has former pro Brett Bingham as an assistant coach. “They have good potential and have the skill. It’s a matter of putting it all together in a short time. But moving forward I’m optimistic.”
The North Regional is set for Sept. 24-25 at Ravencrest Golf and Country Club in Edmonton with the ACAC championship at Lac La Biche, Oct. 1-2.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca