Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Nicole Gal wins 66th Canadian Junior Girls Championship by 12 strokes

Nicole Gal
Canadian Junior Girls Championship winner Nicole Gal of Oakville, Ont. (Andrew Penner/ Golf Canada)

LEDUC, Alta. – Team Canada National Junior Squad member Nicole Gal of Oakville, Ont., shot a final-round 67 on Friday to win the 66th Canadian Junior Girls Championship at Leduc Golf Club in Leduc, Alta., by a commanding 12-stroke margin.

Gal finished the championship at 13 under. She finished ahead of fellow Junior Squad member and Oakville resident, Katie Cranston who finished second at 1 under.

“It’s unreal. Especially because the last Canadian Juniors, I missed the cut,” Gal said on winning the tournament. “So, I’m really proud of myself for all the hard work I’ve put in the last couple of years to be standing here where I am.”

Gal also won the Juvenile division, which ran concurrently for girls aged 16 and under, ahead of Luna Lu of Burnaby, B.C. at two-over and Martina Yu of Coquitlam, B.C. at three-over. Lu and Yu finished third and fourth overall, respectively.

The 16-year-old registered all four rounds with an under par score (71-69-68-67) and led the field by three at the end of the second round. By the completion of 54-holes, Gal had extended her lead to five strokes after a bogey-free third round.

By the time Gal and the final group reached the turn on Friday, Gal had extended her lead to eight strokes over Cranston and would go on to card a second consecutive bogey-free round.

This is not the first time Gal and Cranston have finished next to each other on the leaderboard. In 2020, Gal finished runner-up to Cranston at the Ontario Junior Girls Championship.

“I also was lucky to play with my best friend so, we kept each other smiling and I think that was a big factor for today,” Gal said on playing with Cranston.

In 2019, Gal notably won the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship in the Girls 14-15 division.

This year’s Canadian Junior Girls Championship began with a 106-player field that included three of the Team Canada National Junior Squad members including Gal, Cranston, and Jennifer Gu of West Vancouver, B.C., who held the 18-hole lead and ultimately finished in a tie for eighth.

The field’s youngest competitor, 11-year-old Lucy Lin, finished in a tie for 12th at 12 over.

With the win Gal receives an exemption into the 2021 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship held July 27-30 at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club in Spruce Grove, Alta.

“It’s the first time I’m playing that event, so I don’t have many expectations yet,” said Gal on the Women’s Amateur. “But if I just take it day by day, I think I will finish pretty well there as well.”

Gal joins a list of notable Canadian golfers to have won the Canadian Junior Girls Championship including LPGA Tour players and Olympians Brooke Henderson (2012) and Alena Sharp (1999), as well as Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Sandra Post (1964-66).

Full results can be found here.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

National Amateur Championships return with playing of 66th Canadian Junior Girls

Leduc Golf Club
Leduc Golf Club (Photo by Leduc Golf Club)

LEDUC, Alta. – The 66th Canadian Junior Girls Championship will return this year from July 20-23 at Leduc Golf Club in Leduc, Alta., a year after the pandemic forced a cancellation of Golf Canada’s 2020 competitive season.

The 72-hole event kicks off the return of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Championships. The last tournament was conducted in September of 2019.

This year’s 106-player field includes three Team Canada National Junior Squad members; Jennifer Gu (West Vancouver, B.C.), Katie Cranston (Oakville, Ont.), and Nicole Gal (Oakville, Ont.). Due to travel restrictions, only Canadian residents are allowed entry to the event.

This year 11 of Canada’s top 50 players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) will travel to Leduc Golf Club for the championship, including Luna Lu (Burnaby, B.C.), who finished ninth in the 2019 event.

“We are thrilled to return to competitive play with the Canadian Junior Girls Championship,” said tournament director Mary Beth McKenna. “The Leduc Golf Club is in fantastic shape and will serve as a great test for many of Canada’s top junior players.”

The winner receives an exemption into the 2021 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship held from July 27-30 at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club in Spruce Grove, Alta.

The Canadian Junior Girls Championship is a 72-hole stroke play event, that features a 36-hole cut for the low 70 players and ties. In the event of a tie at the end of four rounds, there will be a hole-by-hole playoff immediately following completion of 72-holes.

The Juvenile division will run concurrently with the Junior division through the 72-hole competition. The Juvenile division is for girls 16 and under.

A practice round will be conducted on July 19, the day before competition begins.

Leduc Golf Course was founded in 1961 as a nine-hole course. Now, it’s an 18-hole course with over 6,000 yards of fairways—some tree-lined and some with water hazards and sloped greens.

Previous winners of the Canadian Junior Girls Championship include Brooke Henderson (2012), Alena Sharp (1999), and Sandra Post (1964-66).

Click here for the full field and tournament information.

NOTABLES

Jennifer Gu
Another 16-year-old from B.C., Jennifer Gu of West Vancouver is also a member of the National Junior Squad and is coming off an incredible 2020 season that saw multiple top 10 finishes at major events. Gu won the PGA of BC Junior Championship, finished third at the Alberta Junior Girls Championship and fourth and the B.C. Junior Girls Championship last year.

Katie Cranston
The 17-year-old from Oakville, Ont. is also a member of the National Junior Squad and like both Arora and Gu, Cranston found a win in 2020, winning the Ontario Junior Girls Championship. In 2019, Cranston finished second at the Future Links Ontario Championship, and third at the Future Links Fall Series (East).

Nicole Gal
Also from Oakville, 16-year-old Nicole Gal rounds out the National Junior Squad members in the field. In 2020, Gal finished runner-up at the Ontario Junior Girls Championship to fellow Oakville golfer, Cranston, and finished in a tie for eighth at the North & South Junior Amateur. In 2019, Gal won the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship in the Girls 14-15 division.

FAST FACTS

Celeste Dao’s win in 2018 broke a streak of three straight years in which a British Columbia golfer won the individual event: Susan Xiao in 2017 (Surrey, B.C.), Naomi Ko in 2016 (Victoria, B.C.) and Michelle Kim in 2015 (Surrey, B.C.).

Ten-time LPGA winner and major champion Brooke Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., won the event in 2012 at River Spirit Golf Club in Calgary, Alta.

Heather Kuzmich won four straight Canadian Junior Girls Championships from 1981-1984.

Four Canadian Golf Hall of Fame members are past champions of the event: Betty Stanhope-Cole (1956), Judy Darling Evans (1957), Gail Harvey (1958-60) and Sandra Post (1964-66).

Current LPGA golfer Alena Sharp was the 1999 Canadian Junior Girls Champion.

In 2019, Euna Han of Coquitlam, B.C., set a new course record at the host course, Lethbridge Country Club during the Canadian Junior Girls Championship by shooting an opening-round 64.

Amateur Canadian Junior Boys Championship Canadian Junior Girls Championship Canadian Men's Amateur Championship Canadian Men's Mid-Amateur Championship Canadian Men's Senior Championship Canadian University/College Championship Canadian Women's Amateur Championship Canadian Women's Mid-Amateur & Senior Championship NextGen Championships

Golf Canada’s 2020 National Amateur Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Golf Canada Tee Block
Tsawwassen, BC – 03 August 2018 – Canadian Junior Girls Championship at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen, BC. (Chuck Russell/Golf Canada)

OAKVILLE, ONT. (Golf Canada) – Due to continued health concerns as well as government restrictions on travel and group gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Golf Canada has cancelled all of its amateur golf competitions for the duration of the 2020 season.

The National Sport Federation had previously announced the cancellation or postponement of a number of its junior and amateur competitions scheduled through mid-June.

“National amateur competitions have been a proud focus throughout our 125-year history and while we share in the disappointment of competitors, our host clubs and event volunteers, the most important consideration is the health and safety of the people who come together at our championships,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Ongoing travel restrictions—both international and across some provincial borders—in addition to continued restrictions on larger group gatherings and limitations on player training were significant contributors to this decision. We are also sensitive to the needs of our host clubs to ensure a safe and healthy environment for their staff and members.”

The 107th Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, one of the top-ranked women’s amateur events in the world that attracts many international athletes, was scheduled to begin in five weeks at The Royal Montreal Golf Club from July 21-24. In addition, the 116th Canadian Men’s Amateur which features a 264-player field was scheduled to take place at The Glencoe Golf & Country Club in Calgary, Alta. from August 3-6 – marking the 125th anniversary of this storied championship. The cancellations will mark the first time since the second World War where these two national championships will not be conducted.

Golf Canada has also announced that the National Orders of Merit will not be awarded in 2020. The purpose of the points-based rankings is to identify and give recognition top-performing male and female amateur and junior golfers across Canada who have achieved success in the golf season. The decision to not award the Orders of Merit was made recognizing the varying access Canadian golfers will have to domestic and international competitions, and the resulting difficulty in running an equitable ranking system. Golf Canada will look to resume the Orders of Merit on September 1st, 2020 for the 2021 rankings. For more information, please visit the National Orders of Merit page by clicking here.

Golf Canada and Golf Ontario previously announced the cancellation of the 7th annual World Junior Girls Championship, scheduled for September 30 – October 3, 2020 at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ont.

Golf Canada annually conducts more than 20 championships nation-wide which play host to more than 3,000 domestic and international athletes from all corners of the world. In partnership with our host clubs, thousands of volunteers, provincial golf associations and our proud sponsors, Golf Canada is dedicated to supporting player development through world-class competition since our inception in 1895. Officiated by certified Canadian Rules of Golf referees, Golf Canada’s amateur competitions are fully compliant with golf’s international governing bodies and include marquee events such as the Canadian Men’s and Women’s Amateur Championships as well as the Canadian Junior Girls and Junior Boys Championships. Golf Canada’s amateur championships are proudly supported by RBC, Canadian Pacific, Sport Canada, Levelwear, Titleist and FootJoy. For more information and scheduling visit www.golfcanada.ca/competitions.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Emily Zhu wins Canadian Junior Girls Championship

(Andrew Penner/ Golf Canada)

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Emily Zhu of Richmond Hill, Ont., carded a final round of 4 under 68, overcoming a two-stroke deficit to win the 65th Canadian Junior Girls Championship held at Lethbridge Country Club in Lethbridge, Alta.

Zhu finished the tournament at 13 under, having posted her first career bogey-free round on Thursday. She finished five strokes ahead of YanJun (Victoria) Liu (Vancouver) and Céleste Dao (Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, Que.).

“I’m still kind of in shock,” said Zhu. “Going into this tournament I really wanted to win, so this win makes me feel really, really good. I tried to play it like yesterday – focus on my shot and focus on hitting each one as good as I can.”

It was an eerily similar situation to last year for Zhu. In 2018, she was in the final group and only one stroke back of the leader, eventually finishing in second. This year was different however, with the Team Canada National Development Squad member surpassing 54-hole leader YanJun (Victoria) Liu.

“I focused on each shot – don’t overthink anything,” said Zhu. “Make sure that the shot at hand is going to be as good as I can.”

A pivotal moment came on the par-4 No. 11, where Zhu birdied and Liu double-bogeyed. The three strokes gained on the hole were more than enough for Zhu.

The 15-year-old also won the Juvenile Girls Championship (for 16-year-olds and under) for the second consecutive year, with Liu finishing runner-up and Brooke Rivers (Brampton, Ont.) coming in third. As the Canadian Junior Champion, Zhu earns an exemption into the 2020 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.

Liu and Dao finished runner-up at 8 under. Liu carried a two-shot lead into the final round, but shot 3 over.

Dao, the defending champion, carded 3 under 69 on Friday. She made three birdies in the final round of her career as a junior competitor. The 18-year-old made the cut at all six the Canadian Junior Girls Championships she played.

Brooke Rivers (Brampton, Ont.) finished fourth at 5 under for the tournament, eight back of Zhu.

Hsin Chiao Chang of Chinese Taipei and Hailey McLaughlin (Markham, Ont.) finished tied for fifth at 3 under.

Play was resumed at 2:00 p.m. local time following a 56-minute weather delay.

Full results can be found here.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

YanJun (Victoria) Liu leads heading into the final round of the Canadian Junior Girls Championship

(Golf Canada)

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – YanJun (Victoria) Liu of Vancouver remains in the lead, although her advantage over the field is down to two strokes at the 65th playing of the Canadian Junior Girls Championship held at Lethbridge Country Club in Lethbridge, Alta.

Liu carded a round one 1 under 71, sinking two birdies. Her lone bogey came on the par-4 No. 11 – only her second bogey of the tournament.

“Today was a harder round than yesterday,” said Liu. “I got into some trouble again. I saved some up-and-downs and had a couple of nice birdies. I’m not going to think about the lead. I’m just going play like my first day.”

This is Liu’s third appearance at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship, having finished in a tie for 13th and a tie for seventh in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Emily Zhu sits two strokes back of Liu at 9 under. The Richmond Hill, Ont., product’s 5 under 67 tied for the lowest score of the round and was the first bogey-free round of her career.

“Of course, I could have gone even lower, but overall I’m very happy with how I played,” said Zhu. “I know [my competitors] pretty well. They’re some of my good friends so it will be really nice playing with them tomorrow.”

Zhu was in an almost identical position at the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls Championship. She was one shot back of the leader and in the final group, eventually finishing second.

“This year is a little different because I am a bit more prepared and experienced than last year,” Zhu added. “I would definitely like to shoot even lower tomorrow, hopefully, and then take the title.”

Tiffany Kong (Vancouver) sits in third, five shots back of Liu at 6 under.

Defending champion Céleste Dao tied Zhu for the low score in the third round at 5 under. Dao made six birdies, including three straight to close out her round. An eagle on the par-5 No. 3 helped move the Team Canada National Development Squad member into fourth place.

Three players sit in a tie for fifth at 4 under; first round leader Euna Han (Coquitlam, B.C.), Brooke Rivers (Brampton, Ont.) and Hailey McLaughlin (Markham, Ont.).

The shot of the day belonged to Alyssa Chang of Surrey, B.C. The 16-year-old aced the 161-yard No. 12 for her second career hole-in-one. She carded even-par 72 in the third round.

“Today was definitely crazy,” said Chang. “I saw the ball and it was just rolling, rolling and I just didn’t want it to stop and it went in. I was jumping up and down and all the parents were clapping.”

The 2019 Canadian Junior Girls champion will receive an exemption into the 2020 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.

Full scoring can be found here.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

YanJun (Victoria) Liu leads following second round of Canadian Junior Girls Championship

(Golf Canada)

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – YanJun (Victoria) Liu of Vancouver carded her second straight round in the 60s, opening a three-stroke lead at the 65th Canadian Junior Girls Championship held at Lethbridge Country Club.

Liu shot 3 under 69, moving herself to 10 under for the tournament. Her 65 yesterday tied the old course record at Lethbridge Country Club – the record was broken by Euna Han only minutes earlier. Liu has only committed a single bogey through 36 holes.

“Today was a different round from yesterday,” said Liu. “Yesterday I had lots of birdie opportunities. Today was more of a regular day – lots of up-and-downs and some birdies too. I kept it real consistent today and made many great putts.”

This is the 16-year-old’s third appearance at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship. She finished in a tie for 13th and a tie for seventh in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Liu won the D.A. Points Junior Championship earlier in July.

“I think my putting’s been really good for both rounds,” added Liu. “I had some miss hits with my driver, but I saved them. Also, my mental game was key – I kept everything together.”

The low round of the day belonged to Tiffany Kong. The Vancouver product carded a 5 under par 67, bringing her score on the tournament to 7 under. She sits three strokes back of Liu heading into moving day.

Brooke Rivers (Brampton, Ont.) shot 4 under in round two, which included an eagle on the par-4 No. 14. Rivers is tied with Han, a Coquitlam, B.C. product, for third. Han carded 3 over on the day.

Team Canada National Junior Squad member Emily Zhu (Richmond Hill, Ont.) posted her second consecutive round of 70, moving her to 4 under for the tournament in fifth.

Team British Columbia won the Inter-Provincial Team Competition. The trio of Angela (ZiLan) Zhang (Vancouver), Cindy Koira (Victoria) and Erin Lee (Langley, B.C.) finished at even par, four strokes ahead of Team Québec in second place.

“The players did all the work – we came up with a good plan and they all stuck to it,” said Team British Columbia coach Colin Lavers. “It’s awesome for B.C. golf. We’re really proud and we’re trying to build a strong program. Results aren’t everything, but they are nice.”

This is Team British Columbia’s first time claiming the Mary Pyke Trophy since 2016 and they have now won three of the last five Inter-Provincial Team Championships.

Full scoring can be found here.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Euna Han sets course record, leads after opening round of Canadian Junior Girls Championship

(Golf Canada)

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Euna Han of Coquitlam, B.C., set the course record with a 64 to take the lead heading into the second round of the 65th Canadian Junior Girls Championship held at Lethbridge Country Club in Lethbridge, Alta.

Han was six under through the front nine and the lone blemish on her scorecard was a bogey on the par-3 No. 16. She could have gone even lower, narrowly missing an eagle putt on the par-5 No. 17.

“I cannot feel better really,” said Han. “I putted really well, but I also hit good shots into the green, so the putts weren’t as tricky as they could have been.”

Han’s 8 under 64, course record-setting round was especially remarkable as Lethbridge Country Club hosted the 2012 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship. Future LPGA players Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn played the 2012 Canadian Women’s Amateur, with the former claiming the title and firing a round of 65.

“I want to stay calm and stay patient, not getting too excited or too down if I make mistakes,” added Han when asked about her outlook on the rest of the tournament.

The 16-year-old has enjoyed a successful season, finishing runner-up at the Future Links, driven by Acura Pacific Championship and third at the B.C. Women’s Amateur. Han’s 64 also leads the Juvenile competition.

YanJun (Victoria) Liu finished a single stroke back of Han at 7 under 65. Liu was bogey free, notching six birdies on the front nine.

Hsin Chiao Chang of Chinese Taipei shot 5 under and sits in third place.

Four players are tied for fourth at 2 under; Emily Zhu (Richmond Hill, Ont.), Angela Zhang (Vancouver), Tiffany Kong (Vancouver) and Annabelle Ackroyd (Calgary).

“My front nine was really good,” said Zhu. “I thought I kept my cool and overall I’m very happy with my round. The course is really nice, very well maintained and challenging.”

“I hit the ball really well, so I just stayed consistent out there,” said Ackroyd. “The course is in great shape, it’s playing awesome. It was a good test. I’d love to play the same way I played today. It’s awesome being home in Alberta.”

Team British Columbia, consisting of Angela Zhang (Vancouver), Cindy Koira (Victoria) and Erin Lee (Langley, B.C.), lead the inter-provincial team competition at 2 under. Team Québec, the defending champions, sit three strokes back in second.

The 2019 Canadian Junior Girls champion will receive an exemption into the 2020 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.

Full scoring can be found here.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Canadian Junior Girls Championship to tee off at Lethbridge Country Club

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Top junior golfers from across North America will head to Lethbridge Country Club from July 30-August 2 to compete in the 65th playing of the Canadian Junior Girls Championship.

The impressive field is led by the Team Canada National Junior Squad, with all five members set to chase the Brokenshire Trophy in Lethbridge; Céleste Dao (Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, Que.), Sarah Beqaj (Toronto), Emily Zhu (Richmond Hill, Ont.), Ellie Szeryk (London, Ont.) and Monet Chun (Richmond Hill, Ont.).

Dao is the defending champion, having won last year’s event by three strokes. She took the lead in the second round, but an impressive charge in the final round secured her the championship. Three birdies on her final five holes allowed her to separate from runner-up Emily Zhu.

In total, 16 of Canada’s top 50 golfers from the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) are included in the field.

“Lethbridge Country Club is the perfect host for our national Junior Girls Championship,” said Tournament Director Adam Cinel. “Its signature holes and fantastic layout will provide a great challenge for the best junior golfers across North America as they chase Canada’s national title.”

A practice round will be conducted Monday, July 29 prior to the championship’s opening round on Tuesday, July 30. Following the first two rounds of play, the field will be reduced to the low 70 players and ties with the top ten juvenile’s and ties included in the final round.

A tie for the championship will be decided by a hole-by-hole playoff immediately following the conclusion of play.

The 2019 Canadian Junior Girls champion will receive an exemption into the 2020 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.

Founded in 1909, Lethbridge Country Club has been on its current site since May 1932. Designed by renowned Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson, the course runs adjacent to the Old Man River. It was the site of the 2012 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, which was won by Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who carded a course record 65 in the third round. A 14-year-old Brooke Henderson finished sixth.

“We are thrilled to be hosting this strong field at Lethbridge Country Club and welcoming this prestigious championship to our course,” said Brian Huculak, General Manager of Lethbridge Country Club. “The golf course is in tremendous shape and we look forward to showcasing its beauty as well as the great city of Lethbridge.”

The Canadian Junior Girls Championship has a long list of distinguished past champions, including Canadian Golf Hall of Famer and major champion Sandra Post, and current LPGA superstar and Canadian professional golf victory record-holder Brooke Henderson.

An inter-provincial team competition will take place over the first two rounds. The two best scores of the three golfers from each provincial team in rounds one and two count towards the team’s score. The lowest aggregate score over rounds one and two determines the champions, who will claim the Mary Pyke Trophy.

Quebec will look to defend their team competition title. The trio of Dao, Élizabeth Labbé (Lévis, Que.) and Emily Romancew (Pierrefonds, Que.) shot four over, four strokes ahead of British Columbia.

Additional information about the tournament, including the full field and tee-times is available here.

NOTABLES

Céleste Dao, Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, Que.
The 18-year-old played the 2019 US Women’s Open and is the highest-ranked Canadian in the field on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (No. 311). Dao also played the 2018 CP Women’s Open and placed fifth at the World Junior Girls Championship in September 2018. She currently leads the Future Links, driven by Acura Junior Girls Order of Merit and is sixth on the Golf Canada National Women’s Order of Merit.

Annabelle Ackroyd, Calgary
Ackroyd earned an exemption into the Canadian Junior Girls Championship in her home province by winning the Future Links, driven by Acura Western Championship in June. The 17-year-old defended her title as Alberta Junior champion earlier this summer.

Ellie Szeryk, London, Ont.
The sister of Team Canada Young Pro Squad member Maddie Szeryk, Ellie was in the hunt at last year’s Canadian Junior Girls Championship. She won the 2018 Golf Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship and played well at the 2018 World Junior Girls Championship. Szeryk also teed off at the South American Amateur Championship in January 2019.

Monet Chun, Richmond Hill, Ont.
Now in her third season on the Team Canada National Junior Squad, Chun won three tournaments in 2018. Although she missed the cut at the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls Championship, she finished in a tie for fourth at the tournament in 2017 and in the top ten in each of the previous three years. Chun also finished third at the AJGA C.T. Pan Junior Championship in April 2019.

Emily Zhu, Richmond Hill, Ont.
A runner-up performance at last year’s tournament was an incredible accomplishment for Zhu, who was only 14 years old at the time. She made the cut at the 2018 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, becoming one of the youngest players ever to do so. Zhu won the AJGA Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior and played well at the Women’s Porter Cup this season.

Sarah Bejaq, Toronto, Ont.
Bejaq placed fifth at last year’s Canadian Junior Girls Championship and joined the Team Canada National Junior Squad shortly thereafter. She posted top-10 finishes at both the 2018 Ontario Women’s Junior and Amateur Championships. Bejaq was one of six Canadians to play at the World Junior Girls Championship last year.

FAST FACTS

Dao’s win in 2018 broke a streak of three straight years in which a British Columbia golfer won the individual event: Susan Xiao in 2017 (Surrey, B.C.), Naomi Ko in 2016 (Victoria, B.C.) and Michelle Kim in 2015 (Surrey, B.C.).

Nine-time LPGA winner and major champion Brooke Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., won the event in 2012 at River Spirit Golf Club in Calgary, Alta.

The lowest single-round score in the tournament’s history is a 66 – Karen England (1997), Kristy Finlayson (1998), Elyse Archambault (2010) and Hannah Lee (2015).

Heather Kuzmich won four straight Canadian Junior Girls Championships from 1981-1984.

Four Canadian Golf Hall of Fame members are past champions of the event: Betty Stanhope-Cole (1956), Judy Darling Evans (1957), Gail Harvey (1958-60) and Sandra Post (1964-66).

Current LPGA golfer Alena Sharp was the 1999 Canadian Junior Girls Champion.

The 2019 Canadian Junior Girls champion will receive an exemption into the 2020 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Céleste Dao wins 2018 Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Celeste Dao (L) and Emily Zhu
Celeste Dao (L) and Emily Zhu

TSAWWASSEN, B.C. – After a close round on Friday, Team Canada National Development Squad Member Céleste Dao from Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot, Que. carded a 2-over-par 74 to become the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls Champion.

Dao started the day with a one stroke lead and worked hard to keep the lead in the final round. She started her round with a bogey on hole 2 and hole 3 and continued to bogey two more holes before she made the turn.

Dao’s first three bogeys were out of the sand to put her at 1-over-par in second place after the 7thhole. She parred hole 8, while Emily Zhu from Richmond Hill, Ont. bogeyed it, putting them both with a share of the lead before the back nine.

Dao’s fourth bogey set her back one stroke, into second, and another bogey on hole 10, after a three putt, forced her to sit three back of Emily Zhu.

“The voice in my head kept telling me to stay patient, just stay patient for the two par 5s that are coming, I knew that at least one of them I could birdie,” said the 2018 Junior Girls Champ.

The Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot, Que. native went on to birdie hole 14, her first birdie of the day, to sit tied for the lead again with Zhu.

“I was waiting for the birdie for a long time, I kind of panicked a little on the front nine but I knew the two par 5s were coming so I stayed patient and when the first birdie dropped I was really, really happy,” said the 17-year-old. “After the first birdie came I knew I would be good for the next one.”

Dao birdied hole 15, as well, to sit one up.  Both players stepped up to hole 17, the same hole that decided their fate in round 3, and teed off.

Zhu hit her ball to the left of the fairway, over the cart path, and into the trees. She had a great recovery and made it back on to the fairway. As she swung her club for her third stroke, the ball went into the trees to the right, and fell out of bounds. Zhu double bogeyed the hole, placing Dao in the lead by 3 strokes with just one hole left.

“She got unlucky, unfortunately, she played so well the whole round. She was so consistent, I mean she’s 14-years-old, it’s impressive, she’s really impressive,” said Dao about Zhu’s shot out of bounds on hole 17.

Dao would go on to birdie hole 18 to finish the day 2-over-par 74 with a total score of even par 288 for the tournament.

“This win means a lot, it was one of my goals as a junior. This year I’m really, really happy. Brooke did it, and so many good players did it, and for me it is so important to win it so I’m happy,” said Dao. “This is a big win for me because it is in my home country and playing against so many players here, it is a national event, and playing in a beautiful city, I’m really happy.”

Emily Zhu also continued to birdie hole 18 to win the Juvenile competition at 14-years-old. Angela Zhang from Vancouver, B.C., came in at 4-over-par and Zhu, after the birdie on 18, came in at 3-over-par to take the title.

“I wanted to sink that birdie putt anyways (not just to win the Juvenile Competition), the first two days I bogeyed the hole and yesterday I hit par so I was like why not go for the birdie?”

The Richmond Hill, Ont., native finished 3-over-par 291 for the tournament. This is just the beginning for her, as she has a few more years to play in this event.

Sarah Beqaj from Toronto Ont., finished 5-over-par 293 to finish third in the Juvenile Competition. Tiffany Kong from Vancouver, B.C., and Angela Zhang, also from Vancouver, B.C., finished with a share of third in the Championship with a score of 4-over-par 292.

Click here to view the full leaderboard for the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls Championship.

Canadian Junior Girls Championship

Canadian Junior Girls Championship – Player Disqualification

(Beach Grove Golf Club)
(Beach Grove Golf Club)

Tsawwassen, B.C. – At the completion of the second round of the Canadian Junior Girls Championship at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen, B.C., a total of 70 players had made the cut at 21-over par (165).

It was brought to attention of the Tournament Committee late in the evening on Wednesday that Ellie Szeryk of London, Ont., who was sitting alone in second place in the Junior Girls Division and leading the Juvenile Girls Division at 1-under (143), had signed for a score lower than she had taken.

As part of the due diligence, the Tournament Committee reviewed the scorecard with Szeryk personally, which ultimately resulted in a penalty of disqualification.

A total of 69 players will now continue to compete in the final two rounds of the Canadian Junior Girls Championship. A link to updated scoring and third round pairings is here.