Two rounds of near-flawless golf propelled Christine Wong to a convincing victory in the 2020 PGA of BC Women’s Championship presented by Dexim Golfwear, as the University Golf Club Apprentice Professional ran away with the title Wednesday at Richmond Country Club.
Entering the final round of the 36-hole, stableford-scoring tournament with a five par-point lead, Wong’s Wednesday tally of 42 points left her with a total of 80 for the event, 10 more than runner-up Kyla Inaba (Predator Ridge Golf Resort). Wong’s six-birdie, bogey-free performance over the final 18 holes was the best round of the championship.
“Our province and our Association is made up of so many amazing female players and my dream was to one day be one of the women who’s won this event,” said Wong, who was making her third start in the tournament. “(I thought) my time would come, and I guess that time was today.”
In capturing her first PGA of BC title, Wong took home the winner’s share of $1,000 from the $3,000 purse. Inaba collected $700 for the second-place finish, while defending champion Salimah Mussani (Riverway Golf Course) earned $550 for third place with a total of 69 points.
Mussani and three-time champion Jennifer Greggain (Chilliwack Golf Club) were tied for second place heading into Wednesday’s play but couldn’t do much to threaten the lead early, as Wong made three consecutive birdies starting on Richmond Country Club’s third hole to take a nine-point lead at the turn.
“Today I was a little more nervous than yesterday, just because I know that Jen and Salimah are awesome players and they made some clutch putts today,” said Wong. “Even on the back nine when they started to make back-to-back birdies, I was like, ‘They’re creeping up close.’ I just tried to keep hitting solid shots and give myself a chance to make birdies.”
Despite feeling a bit more tension over the closing stretch, Wong said the tournament had a comfortable feeling that helped take some of the pressure off.
“We’re all friends off the golf course and on the golf course. With no galleries, essentially you’re just out there playing with the girls,” said the 28-year-old. “From the start, it didn’t feel much like a tournament, so I was in kind of a more relaxed state, and I think that helps a lot.”
Inaba and Kat Kennedy (Point Grey Golf & Country Club) both recorded 39 points over their final 18 holes to share the second-best rounds of the tournament. The strong finish moved Kennedy into a tie for fourth place with Greggain at 68 points.
Recently named the PGA of BC’s Teacher of the Year for the Interior region, Inaba played just her third and fourth rounds of the 2020 season over the past two days. The 33-year-old said she cherished just having an opportunity to play; the solid result was an added bonus.
“(Having) zero expectations yesterday was a really good warm-up and it was really nice to play stress-free golf, because in the past professional golf for me came with a lot of anxiety,” said Inaba. “Now, we’re all in the same boat – we never get to play golf – so this was a lot of fun and the girls were great to play with.
“I really think we have a women’s movement in golf, especially with the strong leaders we had in the field this week. A lot of us are here not just to play golf, but to network and catch up on all the great things each other is doing around the province.”
Inaba added that Wong’s “amazing” performance over the two days was special to see.
“I played with her yesterday and … it felt like we were back on tour because we were both going bomb-for-bomb and she never really faltered,” said Inaba. “She just played really consistent golf.”
Having spent a lot of time playing and practicing at Richmond Country Club over the years, Wong’s dominant showing at this week’s event has given her another reason to think fondly of the A.V. Macan-designed layout.
“The course was awesome; I didn’t expect anything less,” she said. “I’m very grateful for the work that the facility has put into the course for our event.”
CLICK HERE to access final results.