MacKenzie Baustad of Canyon Meadows Golf & CC (left), Stephanie Chelak (middle) and Becky Martin make up Team Alberta at the 106th Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship at Red Deer Golf and Country Club next week. (Photo by Alberta Golf)

Canadian Women’s Am brings top golfers from around the world to Red Deer

If you only know one name in Canadian golf right now, it’s likely Brooke Henderson.

The 21-year-old has absolutely been ripping it up on the Women’s pro circuit, in case you haven’t been paying attention.

With nine victories on the LPGA tour since turning pro in 2014, she already has the most victories of any professional golfer on major tours in Canadian history.

Let that sink in for a second.

Then, take note that Henderson won the 2013 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, at just 15.

Locals might have a chance to see the next Brooke Henderson next week when the 106th Canadian Women’s Amateur hits the Red Deer Golf and Country Club. Entry is free for patrons to watch from July 23 all the way to the final round on July 26.

“We’re in really good shape and considering the weather that’s been in Central Alberta this year, course is in awesome shape. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Dan Hyatt, tournament coordinator from Golf Canada.

Phil Pattison, RDGCC host tournament chair added excitement is feverish around the club will only pick up as the opening round approaches.

“We’re going to have about 70 volunteers mainly from the golf course… the overwhelming majority understand it’s a commitment to golf and the growth of golf– especially women’s golf. We’re all behind this event for sure,” he said.

On the line is an exemption to the CP Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Amateur later this summer. The last Canadian to win was Augusta James of Bath, Ont. in 2014.

For the first time in several years, there are no past champions competing at the 72-hole event. Still, there is plenty of talent in the 2019 field, including the world’s second-ranked amateur, Andrea Lee of California.

Players from around the world make up the 156-player field, with almost two-thirds from Canada and the rest from 11 different countries.

Another player to watch is Lucy Li, a 16-year-old from Stanford, California. At age 11, Li was the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.

From Alberta, about 20 players will be in the field. Local golf fans might know the name Becky Martin.

The Medicine Hat product won the Alberta Women’s Amateur earlier this month and has competed at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association level for the last few years. Martin won the ACAC women’s individual title last year and also in 2016.

MacKenzie Baustad of Canyon Meadows Golf & CC and Stephanie Chelak from Inglewood Golf & Curling Club will join Martin as the Alberta provincial team at the women’s am.

The course is expected to play at about 6,300 yards for the ladies, longer than the typical female amateur event. Hyatt said the challenge will also be for the players to pick their spots in order to score low.

“You have to make your way through the first five holes and then you get a bit of a break, but then you have seven par fours in a row that you have to grind out,” Hyatt said.

“There’s not too many opportunities to string together consecutive birdies. There are some holes you can get, but certainly a tough test of golf.”

The last major tournament at RDGCC was the Alberta Women’s Amateur in 2017.

There are also still volunteer opportunities available for community members and organizers encourage them to call 403-347-5441.

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