Scholarship golfers from the University of Stirling started their tour of Ontario with a hard-fought win against the University of Waterloo.
The current Scottish, British and European Universities champions emerged victorious 17 1/2 to 9 1/2 through the 36-hole competition hosted at Whistle Bear and Deer Ridge GC.
Level pegging after the morning matches, Stirling's five-man team turned on the style in the afternoon individual match play at the impressive tree-lined Deer Ridge course.
Edinburgh's Zander Culverwell caught the eye with a stunning score, never looking back after four birdies on the first five holes, whilst Belgian Youth international Dewi Merckx collected all three available points in his match-up.
Culverwell, a Business Studies student at Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence, said: "I really enjoyed the tournament, it was competitive, played in a great spirit and both courses gave us a good test.
“Any competitive games helps to put your own skills under scrutiny; I've been working on a few aspects with my swing and I managed to put together a strong performance. It is nice to win, but it was also about developing the friendship between the two Universities and representing Stirling on the international stage."
The Waterloo Warriors fielded a gifted, youthful side which included Canadian World Universities Championship player Simon McInnis, whilst Culverwell and Merckx were joined by British Universities internationalists Kit Holmes and Michael Howard as well as recent Belgian Amateur Championship winner Mathias Eggenberger in the Stirling team.
Stirling Assistant Performance Golf coach Bobby Rushford was pleased with the start to the 10-day tour arranged in partnership with Toronto-based Humber College.
He said: "The team had an excellent day and much of that owes to the fantastic hosting by the University of Waterloo players and coaches as well as the kind support from Deer Ridge GC.
“It was a great event to get the guys back into competition mode and there were some standout individual performances, particularly from Zander [Culverwell] and Dewi [Merckx]. The tour of Canada is important for us to develop the team atmosphere and get match sharp in order to be ready to defend our British and European University titles. Waterloo provided strong opposition and we expect a similarly high test in the main tournament next week.”
The team will enjoy rounds at Diamondback and 2013 Canadian Open PGA venue Glen Abbey over the weekend before a three-day tournament at Coppinwood GC from Monday (3 September), where the students face Humber and Roberts Wesleyan College from New York.
Follow the men's golf team's progress in Canada via twitter @StirUni and see the photo gallery on facebook at www.facebook.com/universityofstirling.