A handful of Canada’s best women golfers are looking to get into the swing of things this week on the Epson Tour.
Six Canadians will tee off at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic on Thursday, the second stop on the Epson Tour this season. Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., and Calgary’s Jaclyn Lee hope to use the second-tier event to get into the swing of the golf season.
“It’s really nice to just to get to play and kind of get back into tournament-golf routines,” said Szeryk, who added that a lot of good came out of her performance at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic on March 6. “I saw a lot of positive things that I’d worked on in the off-season.
“Just getting back into like ‘O.K., I need to snack’ and just the little things of staying focused and just trying to like have fun with it and enjoy it.”
Szeryk tied for 59th at the three-round Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, finishing 9-over par after a 78 on the final day. Lee missed the cut at the event with an 8 over. Szeryk said she was taking a lot of positives out of the tournament.
“It was the first week back and there’s little things that you’re rusty on with the first week back,” said Szeryk. “Like on the first day, I forgot to eat a lot. and so I kind of lost focus. At the end of the day, it was like, ‘oh, yeah, I’m supposed to be snacking throughout the day.’
“Just like little things, and just working on the mental side.”
Lee agreed that the three consecutive weeks of Epson Tour events in the American southwest is a great way to ramp up the women’s pro golf season. After the Arizona Women’s Golf Classic, the Epson Tour shifts to the IOA Championship in Beaumont, Calif., and then the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic in Tucson, Ariz.
“It is important to get off to a good start, especially when we have reshuffles coming up this season,” said Lee, referring to the process where the LPGA will update players’ priority status based on performance so far this season.
“So I’m excited to get it started and get a good start. I worked on a few different things last week and hopefully I’ll have a good next few weeks.”
Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Markham, Ont., Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., Hamilton’s Alena Sharp and Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., are also in the field at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.
Szeryk said she enjoys have a large group of Canadians at one event and that, if they can line their schedules up, they usually go out for dinner together.
“We’ll practice together and it’s really fun to see each other and we’re all encouraging each other to play well,” she said. “It’s really exciting to have those familiar faces.”
PGA TOUR — Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., tied for ninth at the Players’ Championship, finishing with a 67 on Monday after one of the toughest tournaments of the season was delayed by rain. Hadwin hopes to carry that top-10 momentum into this week’s Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course. in Palm Harbor, Fla. Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., round out the Canadian contingent at the Valspar.
RBC CANADIAN OPEN — Golf Canada unveiled the qualification tournaments for this summer’s RBC Canadian Open, scheduled for June 6-12 at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto. A two-stage qualifying process for Canada’s national men’s championship will have regional qualifying competitions in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Each of the four regional qualifiers will consist of 18 holes of stroke-play with the low qualifier at each site receiving an exemption directly into the Canadian Open. The top 10 per cent of finishers beyond the low qualifier at each regional qualifying competition are eligible to compete at the final qualifying competition at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto on June 6.
KORN FERRY TOUR — Toronto’s Albin Choi and Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald are the two Canadians in the field at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS this week. Choi is tied for 54th on the second-tier tour’s rankings and Macdonald is 136th. They tee off at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club in Broussard, La., on Thursday.
John Chidley-Hill/The Canadian Press