Posted on 1st September, 2018 Source: Brad Ziemer, Guest Contributor
Some end-of-summer thoughts as we slide into September:
Brooke Henderson’s win at the CP Women’s Open in Regina truly was something special. Not only for Henderson, but hopefully also for the future of women’s golf in Canada.
You couldn’t help but notice that among the huge gallery following Henderson in her final round at Wascana Country Club were a number of young children. Many of them girls.
What a role model they now have in Henderson, who celebrates her 21st birthday on Sept. 10.
The hope is that Henderson’s success will get more kids involved in golf. Especially girls.
Golf, despite reports to the contrary, is not in dire straits. Play has actually rebounded the past couple of years, but the demographics remain challenged. The industry needs to find a way to get more young people involved in the game.
While this country is blessed to have many talented young female players, the numbers seem to be dwindling. At this summer’s B.C. Junior Girls Championship in Kimberley, for example, only 37 girls competed. The B.C. Juvenile Girls Championship in Kelowna -- for players 16 and under -- drew just 15 competitors. At the B.C. Bantam Girls Championship -- for players 14 and under -- just eight golfers teed it up.
Hopefully, Henderson’s steely determination and success on the course -- not to mention the classy way she conducts herself off it -- will inspire young girls to take up the game.
What a great legacy that would be to what was a special Canadian sporting weekend.
OFF TO THE WORLDS: Speaking of talented young Canadian female players, two from British Columbia have been selected to be part of Canada’s two three-player teams at this month’s World Junior Girls Championship in Ottawa.
Tiffany Kong of Vancouver will join Celeste Dao of Quebec and Ontario’s Ellie Szeryk on one team, while Lauren Kim of Surrey will play with Emily Zhu and Sarah Beqaj, both of Ontario, on Canada’s other entry.
The 17-year-old Kong had a solid summer. She was the low Canadian at the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship at Marine Drive Golf Club in July and the following week finished tied for third at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen. Kong is heading into Grade 12 at David Thomson Secondary and is off to play her collegiate golf next fall at Princeton University, a prestigious Ivy League school in New Jersey. So in addition to being a promising golfer, she’s really smart, too.
Lauren Kim is a name I expect you will hear lots of in the years ahead. The 12-year-old, whose family owns a south Surrey driving range, is just entering Grade 8. She made the cut at the Canadian Women’s Amateur this summer and then had the first-round lead at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship before eventually finishing 11th. She seems to have an extremely bright future.
NEW ADDITION: When the PGA Tour’s new 2018-19 season begins in early October, a third British Columbian will be playing alongside Abbotsford products Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor.
Surrey’s Adam Svensson finished 14th on the Web.com Tour money list this year and that earned him a promotion to the PGA Tour. Anyone who has followed the B.C. golf scene closely over the last decade should have seen this coming.
Svensson has been playing terrific golf and winning events since he was in his early teens. His big amateur wins include the 2009 B.C. Amateur and the 2012 Canadian Junior Boys titles. He was the NCAA Division II player of the year in 2014 while attending Barry University in Florida, where he won nine times.
Svensson earned his first win on the Web.com Tour in late January in the Bahamas. Don’t be surprised if he wins on the PGA Tour. After all, he’s done it everywhere else he has played.
SCHOOL DAYS: Finally, September is back-to-school month and that applies to golf as well. The first stage of the Web.com Tour qualifying school begins later this month and several B.C. players will be chasing their dreams. Let’s hope some of them see those dreams come true.
Brad Ziemer covered the B.C. golf scene for the Vancouver Sun for nearly 25 years. He is a past recipient of Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award and the PGA of British Columbia’s Patron of the Year award.
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