ST. CATHERINES – It took a little bit extra play, but Hamilton’s Ashley Sholer is the new reigning Ontario amateur women’s golf champion.
The 20-year-old Sholer, who plays out of the Chippewa Golf and Country Club, needed a playoff hole against American Laura Matthews to take the Investors Group Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship on Friday. Sholer finished the 54-hole tournament with a final round 71 and pared the extra hole for the title.
After an up and down day on the leader board, Sholer found herself in a three way tie with Matthews of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie heading to the 18th tee. After a nearly perfect iron shot, Matthews had the opportunity to end the championship with an 8 foot birdie putt, but was unable to capitalize making par and sending the championship to a playoff. For Sherlock, her luck had run out making bogey on the 54th hole and falling one stroke short of a playoff.
“I thought for sure the championship was over.” says Sholer. “Laura had played a perfect round of golf and to see her miss that putt was shocking.”
The add-on hole saw Matthews only 95 yards away with Sholer lurking behind a set of trees. The Hamilton golfer punched out and left her shot well short of the green leaving the door open once again for Matthews. Unfortunately for Matthews she was unable to pull off the shot leaving herself a tough up and down.
“I made a terrible swing,” says the Oklahoma State Women’s Golf Coach. “I made a couple of terrible putts and just couldn’t pull it out.”
Sholer made a great up and down saving par for her first amateur crown.
Mary Ann Lapointe of Georgetown and Lee Bentham of Richmond Hill tied for fourth. Defending champion Lindsey Knowlton of Toronto finished in a tie for sixth with Kristy McLaughlin of Wasaga Beach.
Sholer, Matthews, Sherlock and Lapointe will form the Ontario team that will compete for the interprovincial title in New Brunswick later this summer. Lapointe earned her spot on the team by beating Richmond Hill’s Bentham on the sixth playoff hole.