The Elmira Golf Club was teeming with talent this week as female golfers battled a soggy start for the love of the game during the three-day Investors Group Ontario Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships August 7-9.A stormy morning start delayed the games for a few hours on Wednesday but the ladies stuck it out, said Claire Welsh, marketing coordinator for the Golf Association of Ontario.
“It’s funny when you compare the men’s events to the women’s events. With the women, it’s much more social. They’re here to play golf and be competitive, but they’re also here to have a good time. No matter what, these ladies always have a high energy level. They’re a lot of fun. We’re just hoping the weather holds out,” Welsh said on Wednesday.
That day’s end saw Welland resident Stefani Markovich grab an early lead, firing an opening-round 70 to lead the field by six strokes.
A member of the Lookout Point Golf Club, Markovich’s game included an eagle on the par-4, 345-yard fourth hole, along with four birdies, four bogeys and a double. She closed out the opening day at even par.
Second place that day went to Cataraqui Golf and Country Club member Andrea Blackwell (Kingston). The former Olympic basketball player and member of the Canada Basketball Hall of Fame achieved a T2 finish at the Ontario Senior Women’s Championship last week in Stratford. On Wednesday she turned in a six-over par 76 heading into Thursday’s second round.
Coatsworth resident of the Kingsville Golf and Country Club Margot Gillespie, Lasalle’s Audrey Akins, and Thornhill Golf and Country Club’s Judith Kyrinis tied for third that day.
Local players finished farther down on the board. Wellesley’s Karen Snelgrove ended the day at T8. Tied one place back was St. Clements resident Jennifer Blom.
The event features Ontario’s best golfers aged 25 and over, with a wide variety of women across the province. This is the first time Elmira has hosted the event coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Elmira Golf Club, celebrated earlier this year.
“It’s a competitive event but they also have a lot of fun out there. A lot of them have golfed together for a number of years. There’s a lot of camaraderie among the participants and they’ve been hearing great things about the course,” Welsh said.