GUELPH – Guelph’s Rachel Pollock and Katie McTaggart will have their work cut out for them Wednesday if they’re to survive the cut at Golf Canada’s women’s amateur championship tournament at Cutten Fields.
The pair finished with scores outside the low 70 following the opening round of the four-day tournament. The field of 156 is to be reduced to the top 70 and ties following the second round.
A total of 79 golfers shot 77 or better on the par-70 course in Tuesday’s opening round, led by a 65 recorded by Jennifer Kupcho of the U.S. Pollock shot an 81 and McTaggart fired a 90.
“It wasn’t the start that I wanted, but I’m going to take away the positives,” Pollock said. “I hit a lot of great shots out there and made back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 so that was nice coming in so I’m going to carry that momentum going into tomorrow.”
“It definitely wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be,” McTaggart said. “I was having a lot of trouble off the tee, but it was still just great to be out there and it was a really good experience to play with those great players. It was a lot of fun.”
There are a lot of similarities between the pair. Both are John F. Ross CVI graduates. Both won District 10 high school golf titles. Both went to NCAA schools on golf scholarships. Both have been Cutten Fields women’s club champions. And both had their mothers acting as caddies during the opening round.
Pollock, 22, has a little more experience in national tournaments. She made the cut at last year’s women’s amateur when it was held in New Minas, N.S., and in 2015 when it was held in Saskatoon.
“I don’t think it gets easier, you get more accustomed and more prepared for them,” she said. “It’s playing really long this week, probably the longest we’ve ever played a national championship – 6350, par 70. I think it’ll be a really good test of golf this week.”
This is the first women’s amateur for 19-year-old McTaggart.
“I never really got into a good groove or anything,” she said. “I never really found my game, but I was happy with my putting. My putting was pretty good so that’s a good positive to take away.”
Reigning Cutten Fields junior club champion Kristen Giles of Georgetown had a good end to her round as she had a hole-in-one on the ninth hole, her 18th hole of the day. That was her only under-par hole of the day, but she had 12 pars and finished the round tied for 21st at 73.
Former women’s amateur champion Mary Ann Hayward, who won a couple of her four national titles while she was a member at Cutten Fields, fired a 76 and is tied for 57th.
Kupcho led at 65 as she was one of three players under par. Susan Xiao of Surrey, B.C., was second at four-under 66 and Grace St-Germain of Orleans, Ont., was third at two-under 68.