WASAGAMING — Becoming a new mom last year has forced Julie Card to change her commitment level to golf, but her game didn’t seem to be affected much at the Tamarack golf tournament on Monday.
Card, who was raised in Brandon but currently lives in Calgary, shot a 2-over 38 on the back nine and a 7-over 79 overall at the Clear Lake Golf Course to become the women’s medallist for the third time. She previously topped the qualifying round in 1997 and 2000.
It was only the fourth round of golf she has played this year, but that may have been the key to her victory.
"I haven’t played as much over the last couple years," she said. "Sometimes when you play a little bit less, you go out there and aren’t too worried about anything and try not to worry too much and go out there and have fun and see what happens. I’ve had a couple good rounds."
The 35-year-old makes an annual pilgrimage home every summer to visit family and play in the Tamarack tournament, which is now in its 81st year.
She missed the event last year after having a baby, but made sure she came back this year.
With motherhood came new priorities, which put golf on the back burner. Since she hasn’t played much, Card — the daughter of Bill Crossman — decided to play it safe on Monday by just trying to keep the ball in play, and it paid off in a big way for her.
While she’s proud of becoming medallist again to earn the top seed in match play, Card knows her work has just begun. She believes there’s a lot of parity in the championship flight, and that anyone can come out on top this year.
"It feels pretty good," she said. "It was very unexpected but definitely it’s a great feeling. Just go out there the rest of the week and try to have fun and keep going.
"There’s a ton of great golfers out there and lots of experience. Really, it’s anyone’s game for sure and it will be fun to go out there and play with these women. I love playing with them all and it will be a fun week."
Colleen Sinclair of Calgary and Trish Jordan of Winnipeg both shot 81 and were closest to Card. The cut for the championship flight was set at 88, with Brandon’s Chris Coulter and Winnipeg’s Tracy Rutledge squeaking in by count back. Winnipegger Jody Bieber also shot 88, but dropped to the first flight.
No one in the women’s field has won the championship before, with former champions Kaitlin Troop, Sarah Stebeleski and Pam Burneski, who have combined to win the last nine Tamarack titles, not teeing it up this year.
The quarter-final matches start on Wednesday afternoon and Card doesn’t plan to change her approach to the round.
"It’s a little bit of a different game, but I think I’ll just keep my strategy the same," Card said. "Keep it safe and keep the ball in play and not do anything fancy. Hopefully the putter continues to work for me for the rest of the week."
CHIP SHOTS: A playoff was held on Monday afternoon to determine the final two men to compete in the championship flight, which starts this morning. Dauphin’s Regan Hedley and Brandon’s Grant Coulter both parred the hole, while Selkirk’s Mark Starodub bogeyed it to drop to the first flight and become the top seed. Hedley is now the 15th seed, while Coulter is seeded 16th in the championship flight. All three posted a two-round total of 146 in weekend qualifying ... Brent Young of LaSalle, who will play in the champions division, scored a hole-in-one during Monday’s Tamarack Scramble. Young aced the 280-yard par-four eighth hole.