TOTTENHAM— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) Women’s Match Play Championship wrapped up on August 6, at the Woodington Lake Golf Course – Legend in Tottenham, with Kelsey Sear taking the 2015 title.
The event began on Aug. 4 with a stroke-play qualifying round, which narrowed the field down to 16 players for four rounds of match-play competition.
Outlasting that field was Unionville’s Sear. Sear, from the York Downs Golf & Country Club, recently competed in the PGA of Canada’s Women’s Championship and was able to use the momentum from that experience to lift her to victory.
Sear, 20, topped Picton’s Casey Ward in the final 1up on the 18th hole. The match was neck and neck throughout. Sear held a 1up lead on the front nine, only to see Ward draw even on the seventh hole. Ward would take the lead on the next hole, but watch it evaporate after the ninth. With Ward 1up again, Sear sank a critical 13-foot putt on the 11th to remain just one down. Sear would birdie the 12th to even the match. Sear’s putter saved her again on 16 as she sank a 10-foot putt to again draw even. Then on 18, Ward hit her approach shot left and needed to chip in to keep the match going, she was unable to and Sear was able to putt out for the win.
After the win, Sear spoke about winning the final match. “It feels awesome! It was really back and forth. I was up then she was up and then I made that big putt on 11 and I knew at that point I had the momentum. Walking up 18 I had lots of confidence and I was able to make a nice chip shot to get up and down.”
Sear spoke about what was going on in her head throughout the round. “I just tried to stay focused. I try to keep my mind off golf, to be honest, and just go with the flow. I don’t get too down or too excited and just play my game.”
For Sear, her road to the title began as the fourth seed and eliminated Welland’s Stefani Markovich in the opening round in 19 holes. She drew Toronto’s Ana Peric in the quarterfinal round and won by a score of 3&2. That put her into the semi finals against Stouffville’s Ivy Steinberg, who she beat 2up, to earn her spot in the finals.
As for Ward, a member of the Picton Golf & Country Club and recent winner of the GAO’s Investors Group Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, she began as the number seven seed after the qualifying round. She opened the tournament with a 2&1 win over Toronto’s Madelyn Piccininni. Then, she picked up a dominant win in the quarterfinals by beating Komoka’s Alex Amos 6&4 to move on to the semi finals. In the semi finals, Ward topped Mississauga’s Michelle Ruiz 3&1 to earn the right to play for the championship.
For round-by-round scoring and all other tournament information, see the tournament page at: http://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao15/event/gao1556/index.htm.