Maddie Szeryk Cruises To Four-Shot Win At B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship

Maddie Szeryk

Team Canada's Maddie Szeryk Held On To Her Lead And Won The BC Women's Amateur By 4 Shots At Vernon Golf & Country Club. (JKam Photos/Jurgen Kaminski, via British Columbia Golf)

VERNON, British Columbia (Brad Ziemer/British Columbia Golf) — After leaving the door slightly ajar with an indifferent third round, Maddie Szeryk slammed it shut early in Friday’s final round of the B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship.

Szeryk birdied four of her first six holes, building her lead to as many as seven shots before cruising to a four-shot win at Vernon Golf & Country Club.

The 20-year-old dual citizen from Allan, Tex., finished the 72-hole event at nine-under par after closing with a three-under 70 on Friday. “I played really well to begin my round and it was nice to start that way,” Szeryk said. “I was then able to focus on hitting good shots and giving myself chances.”

She capitalized on most of those chances, making six birdies in her round. Five of them came on the front nine. The win was Szeryk’s second provincial championship. She won the Ontario Women’s Amateur in 2015. “To have two provincial championships under my belt is pretty awesome,” she said.

Szeryk’s mom, Karen, was all smiles. Karen, a non-golfer, caddied for her daughter for the first time this week. “I did not ruin anything, she only had to tell me a couple of times to get out of the way,” she said with a laugh after the round. “My job was to keep it light. Every night I read a couple of articles so I could talk about what was going on in the world and not talk about golf.”

Maddie told her mom she could give her just one piece of advice a day. That came early in Friday’s round. “Today I had to give it on the second hole, and it was ‘let’s stay out of the trees today,’” Karen said.
That, of course, is easier said than done at Vernon, where the fairways are lined with poplars, weeping willows and assorted other trees. “This course has a lot of trees,” Karen said. “And we’ve seen a lot of them."

The tournament featured all four members of Golf Canada’s national amateur team and three of them finished 1, 2, 3. Calgary’s Jaclyn Lee was second, thanks to a five-under 68 on Friday that featured four straight birdies starting on the seventh hole. 

Naomi Ko of Victoria tied for third at even par with 2015 B.C. Women’s Amateur champion Michelle Kim of Surrey. The fourth Team Canada member, Grace St.-Germain of Ottawa, finished alone in fifth place at three-over par.

Lee had it to seven-under for her round through 16 holes, but finished with two bogeys. “It was a solid round today,” said Lee, a 20-year-old two-time Alberta Women’s Amateur winner who attends Ohio State University. “It was disappointing to finish bogey-bogey but I was happy with the number of chances I gave myself today.”

Szeryk, Canada’s top-ranked amateur at No. 29 in the world, began the day with a three-shot lead on Ko, who had set a course record with a six-under 67 on Thursday. But her fast start on Friday put to rest any hopes the rest of the field had of catching her. “This course tests every part of your game,” Szeryk said. “If you miss in the wrong spot you are in trouble so you have to have everything pretty sharp.”

Szeryk said she kept peeking at Lee’s score on the back nine. “We could kind of see the score guy ahead and it was like, 'okay, she keeps making birdies,' but I was making some birdies, too.” Szeryk was doused with water by her national team friends after holing out for par on the 18th green.

Friday’s result was just the latest in a long list of impressive results for Szeryk. She won the Women’s Western Amateur two weeks ago in Chicago and had an impressive junior year at Texas A&M University.
Kat Kennedy, the Canadian University and College champion who just completed her collegiate career at the University of British Columbia, aced the 122-yard par 3 third hole Friday with a 9-iron.

Kennedy, from Okotoks, Alta., finished in sixth place at seven-over par after shooting a 74 on Friday. “To be honest I think I thinned it a little,” Kennedy said of her hole-in-one. “I was just hoping it would clear the front bunker. I kind of turned away and didn’t see it go in.”

As the three top British Columbia finishers, Ko, Kim and Langley’s Gloria USu Choi, will represent B.C. at the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, which goes July 25-28 at Cutten Fields in Guelph, Ont. Choi beat Port Alberni’s Christina Proteau in a playoff to earn the third spot.

CHIP SHOTS: The battery in Michelle Kim’s range-finder overheated on the back nine and her golf bag began smoldering. . .The 2018 B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship will be played at Golden Golf Club.

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