Celeste Dao (Chuck Russell/Golf Canada)
TSAWWASSEN, B.C. (Aug. 3, 2018) – After a close round on Friday, Team Canada National Development Squad Member Céleste Dao from Notre Dame de l'Île Perrot, Quebec carded a 2-over 74 to become the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls Champion.
Dao started the day with a one-stroke lead and worked hard to keep the lead in the final round. She started her round with a bogey on hole 2 and hole 3 and continued to bogey two more holes before she made the turn.
Dao’s first three bogeys were out of the sand to put her at 1-over-par in second place after the 7th hole. She parred hole 8, while Emily Zhu from Richmond Hill, Ontario. bogeyed it, putting them both with a share of the lead before the back nine.
Dao’s fourth bogey set her back one stroke, into second, and another bogey on hole 10, after a three putt, forced her to sit three back of Emily Zhu.
“The voice in my head kept telling me to stay patient, just stay patient for the two par 5s that are coming, I knew that at least one of them I could birdie,” said the 2018 Junior Girls Champ.
The Notre Dame de l'Île Perrot, Quebec native went on to birdie hole 14, her first birdie of the day, to sit tied for the lead again with Zhu.
“I was waiting for the birdie for a long time, I kind of panicked a little on the front nine but I knew the two par 5s were coming so I stayed patient and when the first birdie dropped I was really, really happy,” said the 17-year-old. “After the first birdie came I knew I would be good for the next one.”
Dao birdied hole 15, as well, to sit one up. Both players stepped up to hole 17, the same hole that decided their fate in Round 3, and teed off.
Zhu hit her ball to the left of the fairway, over the cart path, and into the trees. She had a great recovery and made it back on to the fairway. As she swung her club for her third stroke, the ball went into the trees to the right, and fell out of bounds. Zhu double bogeyed the hole, placing Dao in the lead by 3 strokes with just one hole left.
“She got unlucky, unfortunately, she played so well the whole round. She was so consistent, I mean she’s 14-years-old, it’s impressive, she’s really impressive,” said Dao about Zhu’s shot out of bounds on hole 17.
Dao would go on to birdie hole 18 to finish the day 2-over-par 74 with a total score of even par 288 for the tournament.
“This win means a lot, it was one of my goals as a junior. This year I’m really, really happy. Brooke did it, and so many good players did it, and for me it is so important to win it so I’m happy,” said Dao. “This is a big win for me because it is in my home country and playing against so many players here, it is a national event, and playing in a beautiful city, I’m really happy.”
Emily Zhu also continued to birdie hole 18 to win the Juvenile competition at 14-years-old. Angela Zhang from Vancouver, B.C., came in at 4-over-par and Zhu, after the birdie on 18, came in at 3-over-par to take the title.
“I wanted to sink that birdie putt anyways (not just to win the Juvenile Competition), the first two days I bogeyed the hole and yesterday I hit par so I was like why not go for the birdie?”
The Richmond Hill, Ontario, native finished 3-over-par 291 for the tournament. This is just the beginning for her, as she has a few more years to play in this event.
Sarah Beqaj from Toronto Ontario, finished 5-over-par 293 to finish third in the Juvenile Competition. Tiffany Kong from Vancouver, B.C., and Angela Zhang, also from Vancouver, B.C., finished with a share of third in the Championship with a score of 4-over-par 292.