Brandon native Kaitlin Troop tees off on the 18th hole during women’s medal play at the 80th annual Tamarack golf tournament at the Clear Lake Golf Course on Monday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Keith Fawcett of Onanole putts during senior men’s medallist play on Monday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
WASAGAMING — Kaitlin Troop came into the 80th annual Tamarack golf tournament without big expectations.
The 25-year-old Brandon native was limited to the amount of golf she could play this season as she broke her wrist and had surgery to repair the damage in April. She wasn’t cleared to golf until July and she didn’t play in many tournaments in preparation for the Tamarack.
On Monday, despite still having pins in her wrist, Troop produced the best round in women’s qualifying play with a 3-under-par 72 at the Clear Lake Golf Course to become the medallist for the third straight year, and fourth time overall.
"This one is nice," Troop said. "I really didn’t have any expectations. I haven’t been playing a lot this year. I think that probably helped me. I just went out and had fun with it. It feels good. I didn’t expect it."
Although she didn’t play in many tournaments, Troop did get out to a few courses in Calgary, where she works as a physiotherapist, in the last few months to play some fun rounds.
The three-time champion looked more than ready to play on Monday as she birdied four straight holes on the front nine and eagled the 15th.
Her only bad hole came on the par-3 17th. Troop hit her first shot into the trees and came away with a double-bogey.
"On 17, I don’t know what it is about that hole, I probably haven’t been better than double on that hole the last three years," said Troop, who had her brother Adam caddy for her yesterday.
While Troop had an impressive opening day at the Tamarack, she wasn’t pushed very hard by the rest of the field. Brandon’s Chris Coulter finished second in the qualifying round with an 80, eight strokes behind Troop. Defending champion Sarah Stebeleski from Winnipeg posted an 81.
Although she had a solid start to the tournament, Troop — last year’s runner-up — doesn’t want to set her expectations too high.
She just wants to carry the same attitude she had in the qualifying round into match play, which begins Wednesday when she takes on her mother Jayne in a quarter-final matchup.
"If I can make it to the finals, that’s awesome, but I’m not expecting too much," Troop said. "I think match play is something I’ve struggled with the last few years. I’ve kind of lost it in the last round or the semis. I’m not my best when I play match play, but we’ll see what happens."
The Tamarack continues today when the top 13 flights in the men’s division begin match play. The championship flight competitors tee off from the first hole between 8:48 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. The 13th and 14th flights began on Monday.
The junior boys will also begin match play with quarter-finals in the championship, first and second flights in the morning. The championship flight will begin on the 10th tee between 8:48 a.m. and 8:57 a.m.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 20, 2013