OSOYOOS, B.C. – Nonie Marler recently returned to competitive golf after a lengthy hiatus and it hasn’t taken the Vancouver resident long to shake off the rust.
Marler shot a two-under par 71 Sunday to take the first-round lead at the 49th playing of the Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur and Senior Championship at Osoyoos Golf Club.
Marler, a commercial real estate specialist, just returned from Mississippi after qualifying to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. She missed the cut, but called it one of the greatest experiences of her golfing life.
Her week in Osoyoos could be another one if she continues the fine play she displayed on Sunday.
“I hit the ball well today and tried to keep my wits about me,” Marler said of her round that included four birdies and two bogeys.
It also included a par on the par 5 18th hole that Marler wasn’t too happy about. After hitting the green in two, she three-putted from above the hole for par.
“I was a bit too aggressive on 18, but hey-ho, that’s how golf is, right?,” Marler said.
Four individual trophies will be awarded following conclusion of the 54-hole event being played on Osoyoos Golf Club’s Park Meadows Course. The Mid-Amateur competition is open to players aged 25 and older. The Mid-Masters title is open to players aged 40 and older. The Senior competition is for players aged 50 and older and the Super Senior title is being contested by players aged 60 and older.
Marler, only eligible in the Mid-Amateur competition, has a one-shot lead on five-time champion Christina Proteau of Port Alberni, B.C., Amy Ellertson of Free Union, Va., and Judith Kyrinis of Thornhill, Ont. Proteau and Marler played in the same group Sunday and will again in Monday’s second round.
“Christina is a great golfer and competitor,” Marler said. “I learn so much every time I play with her.”
Marler played collegiate golf at the University of Guelph, but got away from competitive golf when she went to work in Great Britain for more than a decade. It wasn’t until she recently returned to Vancouver that she got serious about the game again.
“This is my first year back after a hiatus of 10-plus years,” she said.
Ellertson and Kyrinis are tied for the lead in the Mid-Master and Senior divisions.
Kyrinis, the 2016 Canadian Mid-Amateur and Senior champion, called her round boring.
“I kind of tend to play that way,” she said with a chuckle. “I am a pretty straight driver and I hit the irons well today. It was tough getting the ball to the hole today on the greens.”
Ellertson felt like she left some shots out on the course.
“I missed a four-footer and a six-footer for birdies,” she said. “I hit the ball great. I have no complaints about the way I hit the ball. Just a couple of putts that could have made it better.”
Holly Horwood of Vancouver was delighted with her one-over 74 that has her in the lead in the Super Senior Division.
“I am very happy because it started off extremely shaky with a drive that just bobbled off the tee blocks,” she said. “And it was like, oh dear.”
Horwood, who won the Super Senior Championship in 2016, shot 34 on her back nine.
“The front nine, which was my back nine, is something to be proud of,” she said.
Defending Super Senior champion Jackie Little of Procter, B.C. and Ivy Steinberg of Stouffville, Ont., are one back after opening with two-over 75s.
Australian Sue Wooster, who last year won the Mid-Amateur, Mid-Master and Senior titles, opened with a two-over 75 and did not make a birdie.
“It was a pretty uneventful round today,” Wooster said. “I hit a lot of greens, but I couldn’t hole any putts. I wasn’t hitting it close enough, I guess.”
An inter-provincial senior team competition is being held in conjunction with the tournament. The Ontario team of Kyrinis, Mary Ann Hayward and Andrea Blackwell leads at one-over par. Team British Columbia is second at seven-over.
After Monday’s second round, the field of 141 players will be reduced to the low 70 player and ties from the Senior division. Further to that, all Mid-Amateurs and Mid-Masters posting a 36-hole score which is equal to the player(s) to qualify for the final round, will make the cut. A minimum of 10 Mid-Amateurs (aged 25-39), five Mid-Masters (40-49) and five Super Seniors (age 60+) will make the cut.
Full scoring can be found here.