Connor O’Dell was able to shake off a disappointing second round at the PING CCAA Golf National Championships at the Chilliwack Golf Club and help rally the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades to a bronze medal on Oct. 16.
O’Dell entered round two with the club house lead, firing a 67 on the opening day and help lead his team to second place, three shots back of the Niagara College Knights. But the wheels came off in round two for O’Dell, who carded a six-over 78 and saw his team fall to seventh place.
O’Dell said he was frustrated heading into the final round of the national championships before he talked to his coaches.
“To be honest, leaving the second round I was a little under motivated,” said O’Dell. “Golf is so much between the ears that if you’re not motivated, it just doesn’t work.”
But it didn’t take the fourth year leader of the Cascades to bounce back. He said his coaches helped calm his emotions and get him focused on playing the next round.
“My coaches did a great job of helping me regroup. They told me we still had a chance to go get a bronze medal, which is a huge accomplishment. I realized I’m playing for my school and my teammates. That’s all it took. I was really excited to play the third round.”
The two-time CCAA All-Canadian bounced back in a big way, firing a two-under 70 in the final round, boosted him up the leaderboard into a tie for sixth place at minus-1 for the tournament, but more importantly to the Maple Ridge golfer, helping secure the bronze medal for the Cascades. It’s the seventh time in nine years the Cascades placed a team on the podium at CCAA nationals.
“There’s good ways and bad ways to come in third place, and this was definitely a great way to get third,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said. “I’m really proud of the team coming up with the best score of the final day of the tournament.
“We had a tall task today. We said that if we did everything we needed to do, third was in sight. And you know, they stepped up. They played great, and they earned it.”
O’Dell was also the male recipient of the Fair Play award, in recognition of his sportsmanship.
“He’s a great player, he’s a great person to play golf with, and it’s great to see him recognized. Everyone who plays with him talks about how much of a gentleman he is on the golf course. He makes our program and our university very proud,” said Bertram.
O’Dell said he attributes much of his success to his coaches and the school for putting the resources into the golf program. He said now that the season is over, his focus will be less about golf and more on the academic side. He’s working on a major in kinesiology with a minor in business.