It wasn’t first place, but Oakville’s Jessica Shepley has taken another step forward in her pro golfing career. The Oakville player was fifth when the third and final round of the CN Canadian Women’s Tour Championship finished on Friday.
It was Shepley’s first top-10 placing since turning pro last year. The 24-year-old golfer had a final round 78 for a 36-hole total of 226, 17 strokes back of champion Lisa Meldrum of Kirkland, Quebec. Shepley earned $3,375.
Meldrum, who led from the opening tee and took home $8,333 from the total purse of $50,000, had a final round 69 and her 209 (71 and 69 in the first two rounds) total was the only score under par at the Summerlea Golf and Country Club in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec.
Meldrum’s nearest threat was Kim Brozier of Red Deer. The Alberta golf was 11 shots back of the winner after shooting a final round 78 to go with her first two rounds of 73 and 69.
St. Catharine’s Liz Early had a three-round total of 230, good enough for a share of 11th place and worth $1,154. Burlington’s Carrie Vaughan shot 76, 79, and 78 for 233 that gave her a four-way share of 17th.
Tied for 35th was Brantford’s Jennifer Jaszek (85-78-77).
Meldrum entered the day with a two-stroke lead over Brozer and extended it to 11 after carding four birdies in another three-under, 69 round. Brozer fell back early and the entire field just couldn’t keep pace as Meldrum turned the championship into a runaway victory with her hometown friends and family watching on.
“I never thought I’d ever win with such a big margin, especially considering how close it was last night,” said Meldrum. “It’s been a long time since I’ve won; I think it’s almost three years to the day since my last victory when I was an amateur. I just hope my second one doesn’t take as long.”
“Obviously it feels pretty good and this was a good event with some tough competition here. Even the way I did it by pulling away and not giving anyone a chance to come back. That’s a confidence builder for me.”
With the win, Meldrum gets a free pass into next year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open, held Aug. 13-19, at Royal Mayfair Golf and Country Club in Edmonton, Alta. She also claimed top spot on the Tour’s Order of Merit standings which earns her the Jocelyne Bourassa Player of the Year honours and an additional $3,000.
The three-time Canadian amateur women’s champion has come close this season losing in a playoff at the first CN Canadian Women’s Tour stop in Duncan, B.C. and two-weeks ago finishing three-strokes behind the leader at the Canadian PGA Women’s Championship. Meldrum also made her fourth career start at the CN Canadian Women’s Open earlier this month in London, Ont.
She hopes this will be a springboard to future success which might come at LPGA Q-School in just a few more weeks. “It’s good to get the nerves out here and get the good feelings going before those other events. It’s probably good timing for my first win. It’s something I can build on,” added Meldrum.
Last year Hamilton’s Alena Sharp followed a path which won her the Canadian Women’s Tour Championship and then went on to earn her LPGA Tour card via the LPGA Tour Q-school. This year’s sectional qualifying takes place from Sept. 19-22 in Palm Springs, Calif., and Oct. 3-6 in Venice, Fla. The final qualifying tournament runs Nov. 29 – Dec. 3 in Datyona Beach, Fla. Meldrum and several CN Canadian Women’s Tour players plan to attend. In other results the low amateur of the championship was Jill Hardy of Winnipeg who finished in eighth with at 228. Mary Ann Lapointe of Georgetown, Ont., who did not play this week, captured the top amateur honours for the season.
The top Club/Teaching Professional competing this week at Summerlea was Laura Witvoet of Ponoka, Alta., who finished in a tie for ninth place at 229. Witvoet also captured the overall Club/Teaching Professional of the Year award.