RICHMOND HILL— The 2016 Ontario Women’s Match Play and Ontario Junior Girls’ Match Play Championships wrapped up on Aug. 17 from DiamondBack Golf Club in Richmond Hill. After a long three days, which included a very soggy second day, the sun was out for the semi finals and finals on day three. When the final matches concluded, it was Pickering’s Crystina Kertsos who walked away with the Women’s title, while Markham’s Hailey McLaughlin took home the Junior Girls’ championship.
The Women’s final match was a close one early on between Kertsos and Georgetown’s Samantha Spencer. Kertsos, 20-years-old from York Downs Golf & Country Club, took the lead on the first hole and extended it to two on the third. Spencer, 20-years-old from The Club at North Halton, came back and won the fourth to only trail by one. Then, on the sixth hole, Spencer chipped in from just off the fringe to even the match, which is where it stood at the turn. The match remained even until the 17th hole when Spencer took the lead. Spencer had a chance to end the match on the 18th but couldn’t get her putt to fall. That opened the door for Kertsos who tied the match on the 18th and then won it on the 19th hole.
“It feels amazing to win,” said Kertsos after the match. “I knew I had to do something special on 18. I didn’t, but I stayed confident, made my par and got lucky that it was in the cards. It is cool because this is my first Golf Ontario title and it is going to be a great confidence booster as I head to school.”
Kertsos went on to talk about the strengths of her game during the event. “My short game had to be my savior this week. I wasn’t hitting the ball amazingly, but still managed to put it in the hole with the least amount of strokes.”
The road to the title for Kertsos began with a 19-hole win over Pickering’s Meghan Bennett. She followed that up with a 4&3 quarter finals win over Uxbridge’s Kelsey Fuchs. She then moved on to the semi-finals where she knocked out St. Thomas’ Mary Ann Hayward, with an exciting 1up win on the 18th hole, which earned her a spot in the final.
Getting to the final for Spencer started with a big 7&6 win over Thornhill’s Olivia Lee. Next up was a clash with Welland’s Tasha Macdonald that ended 2&1 in Spencer’s favour. That moved her onto the semi finals where she beat Markham’s Julia Champion 2&1 to punch her ticket to the championship match.
About the Ontario Women’s Match Play Championship
The Ontario Women’s Match Play Championship was first played in 1975 and has several notable past champions including: World, Canadian and Ontario Golf Hall of Fame member Marlene Stewart Streit, six-time champion Mary Ann Hayward, Terrill Samuel, and Heather Kuzmich.
For full tournament information, including round by round results, see the tournament page at: https://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao16/event/gao1680/index.htm
As for the Junior Girls’ Championship, McLaughlin, 14-years-old from Cedar Brae Golf & Country Club, quickly moved out in front of Markham’s Victoria Zheng with wins on the first two holes. She later extended the lead to three up, with a par on the fourth hole, and looked to be heading to the turn with a big advantage. However, Zheng, 12-years-old from Station Creek Golf Club, came back taking the eighth and ninth holes and was just one down at the turn. McLaughlin extended the lead to two up on the 10th but Zheng won the 12th and 13th to even the match. However, McLaughlin would birdie the next two holes and pared the 16th to win the match 3&2.
Afterwards McLaughlin spoke about how much the win meant to her. “It is very exciting to win this event. I knew it was going to be a tough round, especially against Victoria who is a very good competitor, but I am just overwhelmed with excitement. This is the biggest event I have won since the Bantam Championship (2015) so I am just speechless.”
McLaughlin talked about the conditions that she faced this week and what part of her game was strongest. “I am used to playing in bad weather from tournaments I have played in previous years so it was not that big a deal to me. I just focused on my shots and try not to worry about the weather. This week my short game was the strongest part of my game. I made some long putts today and yesterday. My game was just really on this week.”
On her way to the title McLaughlin, a Team Ontario member, started by ousting Markham’s Rachel Lee 4&2. Next up was her quarter final match with Niagara Falls’ Sukriti Harjai, which McLaughlin needed 19 holes to earn the win. That set her up for an all Team Ontario semi final with Maple’s Alyssa DiMarcantonio. McLaughlin took the match 5&3 to advance to the title match.
As for Zheng, she began the championship with an 8&6 victory over Windsor’s Rachel Cote. In the quarters, she beat out Grafton’s Danielle Sawyer in 19 holes. That put her up against a fellow Station Creek member in Toronto’s Catherine Zhang. Zheng would win the match 5&3 sending her to the final.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO JUNIOR GIRLS MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
The Junior Girls’ Match Play Championship has been contested since 1982. Female golfers under 19 years of age, before August 1, are eligible to compete. Notable past champions include: Alena Sharp, Stefi Markovich, Christina Yoon, Elizabeth Tong and Grace St-Germain.
For full tournament information, including round by round results, see the tournament page at: https://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao16/event/gao1679/index.htm
Golf Ontario would like to thank ClubLink and DiamonBack Golf Club for hosting the Championships. Thanks also to the Golf Ontario volunteers who make these events possible.