OTTAWA — One of the best rounds of Maddie Szeryk’s LPGA Tour season couldn’t have come at a better time.
Szeryk of London, Ontario shot a 4-under 67 in the first round of the CP Women’s Open on Thursday. She and Hamilton’s Alena Sharp ended the day as defeated Canada, who finished 16th along with six other players.
Szeryk, 26, missed the cut six straight times to start the season before a 67 and a 64 helped her finish 36th at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on July 13. She said Thursday that she thought she was due for a solid round.
“I felt like I was really close and just wasn’t getting the results I wanted,” Szeryk said on the 18th green at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. “I just felt like I had a really good week of training before coming here and was just excited to be here.”
Szeryk said she had many family members in the audience including her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles at the women’s national golf championship, the only LPGA event in Canada.
As one of five Canadians starting regularly on the LPGA Tour this season—along with Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario, Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., Jaclyn Lee of Calgary and Sharp—Szeryk said she the tournament has been looking forward to for some time. Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic forced their cancellation in 2020 and 2021.
“The Canadian Open is always like a major for Canadians, so you always want to play well,” Szeryk said. “I just have all my family here and so many Canadian fans out here, we haven’t had the Canadian Open in a couple of years so it’s great to be back.”
Thornhill, Ontario amateur Lauren Zaretsky also made some memories on Thursday. She fired a hole-in-one on the fifth hole to end the day 3-under par in 30th place.
Zaretsky qualified for the LPGA event when she won the 2021 Canadian Women’s Amateur and became a grandfather after last year’s CP Women’s Open was cancelled.
“My reaction was pretty calm,” said Zaretsky, 18, who will begin her college career on Monday when she begins her freshman year at Texas Tech. “I’m surprised. I haven’t had a hole-in-one since 2016 and even made a joke before this tournament that I might have a hole-in-one on live TV.”
Zaretsky’s ace means CME will donate $20,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Canadian Pacific Railway is donating $15,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario if anyone makes a hole-in-one at No. 15 at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club this week.
World No. 5 Henderson and Selena Costabile, also of Thornhill, finished with 2 in 49th place.
“Towards the end it all levels out normally,” said Henderson, Canada’s most successful professional golfer of all time. “I just need to get my 7 or 8 under tag hopefully in the next few.”
Vancouver amateur Vanessa Zhang and Toronto’s Rebecca Lee-Bentham were in a group of 1 under 70’s and Megan Osland of Kelowna, BC had an even round.
Amateur Sarah-Eve Rheaume from Boischatel, Que. was 1 over. Leblanc, Vancouver amateur Michelle Liu and Brigitte Thibault of Rosemere, Que., who turned pro on Tuesday, tied 2 overs.
Valerie Tanguay of St-Hyacinthe, Que., 12-year-old amateur Lucy Lin of Vancouver and amateur Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ontario were in a group of 3 by. Amateur Yeji Kwon of Port Coquitlam, BC, shot a 4-over-75. Amateurs Katie Cranston of Oakville, Ontario and Monet Chun of Richmond Hill, Ontario had 6-over-77 rounds.
Canadian all-time golf great Lorie Kane from Charlottetown played her last CP Women’s Open and was 13 over.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 25, 2022.