Kelly takes aim at B.C. Amateur title

The province’s best female golfers will gather at Pitt Meadows Golf Club beginning today for the 2013 B.C. Golf Women’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championships.

Royal Colwood’s Eileen Kelly will be among them, along with her Zone 5 teammate Alison Murdoch of Victoria Golf Club.

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Kelly, 25, replaces Janine Kosmenko, who had edged Kelly out by a stroke for the second zone slot at the Zone 5 championships earlier this month. Kelly recorded rounds of 78 and 79 at Highland Pacific and Cordova Bay.

“I’ve really been working hard on my game, so I’m just preparing as much as I can,” Kelly said of competing in her fifth B.C. Amateur after playing two seasons at UBC. “I’m just going to go and play some golf. If you’ve done all the work, it’s time to go and have fun and play some competitive golf.”

The field will be challenged by the 6,220-yard course, which will play as a par-74 layout via its tree-lined fairways and tricky greens.

“It will be a good test. There are definitely some holes that will require some focus,” said Kelly. “My best finish [at a B.C. Amateur] was probaby my first one. I believe that was a top-25.

“My goal, because I have done a lot of work, is to go and play free and just hit every shot. Obviously you’d love to win the tournament and just have a good time with it. In golf, sometimes you can’t control where the shots are going, but you can control whether or not you’re enjoying yourself.”

Among the favourites will be defending champion Christine Wong of Richmond, a national team member and recent San Diego State University graduate, and fellow Team Canada member Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, who is heading to Stanford University.

National development team members Naomi Ko of Olympic View in Colwood, Taylor Kim of Surrey and Langley’s Kathy Lim will all be competing, along with A. Ram Choi of Surrey, Jennifer Yang of Coquitlam, Megan Osland of Kelowna. and SooBin Kim and Anica Yoo of Port Coquitlam.

Former champion Christina Proteau of Port Alberni is also in the field for the 72-hole stroke play competition with a cut to top 40 and ties (based on a field of 60) after 36 holes.

The Mid-Amateur Championship is a 54-hole stroke play competition with no cut and includes the Master-40 Division for players aged 40 and older as of the first day of the competition.

Among the other Vancouver Island competitors will be Penny Baziuk (Ardmore); Kim Evans (Nanaimo); Valerie Fitzpatrick (Victoria Golf Club); Allison Lee (Gorge Vale Golf Club); Michelle McCann (Glacier Greens); Sarah Nishide (Pheasant Glen); Bree Sharratt (Bear Mountain); Shelly Stouffer (Fairwinds Golf & Country Club); and Megan Woodland (Uplands Golf Club).

The top three competitors from the B.C. Amateur will be represent the province at the 2013 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, being hosted by the Club de golf Beloeil from July 23-26 in Beloeil, Que.

Round 1 of the B.C. Amateur tees off at 7:30 a.m. today and spectators are welcome to attend. 

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

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