Stoddart A Game Changer With Fanshawe Falcons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Reed On The Greens

October 3, 2018
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioGolf.com

Putting a 19-year-old college athlete on a pedestal often ruins that teenager’s career, even before it’s given a chance to blossom. Not every young athlete can handle the pressure put upon them by an entire post-secondary school institution.

But it appears Fanshawe Falcons women’s golf star Alyssa Stoddart of Orangeville, Ont. is the exception – so much so that her coach, Colin Robertson, said he’s now building a stronger women’s golf program entirely around her.

In fact, Stoddart, who today captured the gold medal at the OCAA golf championships at FireRock Golf Club in Komoka, said she welcomes the opportunity to be an ambassador for the college.

Alyssa Stoddart. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

Stoddart’s first-place score of 82-80-84–246 (+27), six strokes better than Hayley McCallum of Humber Hawks, gave her Fanshawe’s first-ever individual medal at the OCAAs. Her only teammate, Mery Tarigan, finished fourth. As the OCAA gold medalist team, they’ll compete at the CCAA national championship Oct. 16-19 at Medicine Hat College, Alta. at Desert Bloom Golf Club.

Fanshawe’s men’s team captured silver at FireRock, where sophomore golfer Braydon White shot even-par for the tournament to win by six strokes over Humber’s Cameron Griffin and Georgian’s Brady Zordan. White is the first Fanshawe golfer to win the individual OCAA men’s gold medal since Alex Bober in 1975. Both White and Stoddart led wire-to-wire at FireRock.

Stoddart and White were both named CCAA All-Canadians, while Robertson was named OCAA Coach of the Year.

Click here for the complete story from FireRock GC.

Stoddart is now the star attraction with the Falcons women’s golf program. She started golfing at age 5 at Shelburne Golf and Country Club and was coached by PGA of Canada hall of fame instructor Sam Young.

After 10 years of junior golf, numerous GAO and Golf Canada tournaments including a third-place finish at the Ontario bantam championship and a stint with the now-defunct Ontario junior development program at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Stoddart gave up the game.

It’s not uncommon for teen girls to abandon golf when they can’t find playing partners, but that wasn’t the case for Stoddart.

“I was in Grade 11 and had been playing competitive golf for a decade, so I needed a break,” she said. “But I could always find playing partners. I grew up playing golf with the boys. I was never intimidated, and it made me a better golfer. We even had long-drive contests which were fun.”

Stoddart’s prowess of the tee as well as deft short game has helped her capture four OCAA tournaments during her rookie season with the Falcons. It’s that game that earned her a partial scholarship with McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was redshirted during her freshman year, and not long afterwards left the U.S. when she decided the American lifestyle wasn’t for her.

“Don’t get me wrong: it was a great experience overall. But it was a very different lifestyle for me and I knew I would have a better chance of succeeding where I felt at home,” she said.

Eying a career as a PGA of Canada professional and golf instructor, Stoddart considered both Fanshawe and Georgian College in Barrie before deciding on Fanshawe’s highly-regarded Golf and Club Management program.

Colin Robertson

“Alyssa sent me a video of her swing, and I didn’t have to look long to be very impressed,” Robertson said. “She’s the real deal. She’s a real piece of our puzzle moving forward.”

“Colin is an unbelievable coach,” Stoddart said. “He’s good with my game, doesn’t do too much to my swing. He just gets me out of my own head.”

Western University golf team member Charles Fitzsimmons is the Falcons’ mental coach – another important part of Team Stoddart.

“Charles and I go over post-acceptance, because I’m pretty good with my pre-shot routine. That’s solid. But the two of us have worked on accepting a bad shot and moving on, focusing on the next shot,” Stoddart said.

Stoddart, who turns 20 later this month, won three invitational tournaments this season at Lakehead and Georgian colleges, and at Fanshawe’s own invitational at FireRock which helped the squad prepare for OCAAs. She was also the top OCAA golf at the Niagara invitational which included Brock University.

Roberston said he wasn’t surprised by Stoddart’s early rise to fame amongst the OCAA ranks.

“It hasn’t surprised me one bit,” he said. “She has a great head on her shoulders. She’s very cognizant of every shot that she takes. She’s dedicated and focused.

“When you see her put that to use on the driving range and in practice sessions, you know that’s coming to the golf course with her,” Robertson added. “Her confidence is something that the rest of the team feeds off of. Her smile is infectious. And she’s a very important part of our team.”

Falcons with medals at OCAAs. Photo: OCAA.

“I expected to do well this year,” Stoddart said. “I did some research of previous scores to know who I was up against. Then I treated all of the tournaments like practice rounds to get ready for nationals.”

The CCAA has a mandate to grow women’s golf. At the OCAAs, eight women competed.

“Growing women’s golf is something we’re trying to do right across the OCAA,” Robertson explained. “At Fanshawe, this is something we absolutely need to do, and now Alyssa is a huge part of that. To have her talk about the team to prospective members, and to show her results, is very important. And moving forward, she’ll be a big player when it comes to attracting more of the women’s game to our college.”

Alyssa Stoddart at the first tee at FireRock GC. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Stoddart has already stepped up big-time as an ambassador for Falcons women’s golf.

“This is my goal – to help build our program,” she said. “I see how strong the men’s program is and I want that for the women. I accept that role and that challenge and I’m thankful Colin has put his faith in me.”

Stoddart will be a part of the Falcons program next season, and perhaps for a third, before she sets out to launch her own golf academy. She wants to coach golfers of levels, in particular girls who need a role model.

“I have high hopes for Fanshawe and I’m very proud that we’ve done so well at the OCAAs,” Stoddart said. “And it feels amazing going to the national championships.”

No matter how Stoddart and the Falcons fare at the CCAAs, Fanshawe has already found a winner in Stoddart when it comes to growing women’s golf.

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Jeffrey Reed is an award-winning golf writer, a three-time author and London’s senior sportswriter. He is editor and publisher of LondonOntarioSports.com, and LondonOntarioGolf.com. Have a story idea for Jeffrey? Reach him at jeff@londonontariosports.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.

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