The F.J. Hayden student wins the provincial girls' golf festival open division title
by five strokes over Iroquois Ridge's McMurray while in the high school division
Alexander-Carew, a Grade nine student from Iroquois Ridge takes top spot
Friday, October 18, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER, ON. - Sarah Gallagher missed qualifying for OFSAA girls' golf in her Grade nine year at F.J. Hayden Secondary School in Burlington.
Twelve months later Gallagher made up for the absence with a career best round, helping the 15-year old capture the 2019 OFSAA girls' golf festival open division championship, at Pine Knot Golf and Country Club.
Gallagher won with a two day score of four-under par 138 (65-73), five strokes lower than silver medalist Alexis McMurray (69-74-143), out of Oakville Iroquois Ridge.
Nicole Gal, from Oakville Holy Trinity, made it a sweep of the medals by Greater Horseshoe Athletic Conference (GHAC) golfers, finishing third (70-74-144).
Julia Alexander-Carew, also from Iroquois Ridge, won the high school division by five strokes (74-82-156), over Barrie Eastview's Grace Holijak (83-78-161).
Mikayla Bourgeois, from Mississauga St. Marcellinus, placed third (83-80-163), winning a playoff hole against Woodstock Collegiate's Madeline Choi (85-78-163).
Thanks to a career best round of six under-65, Gallagher shot to the top of the leader-board on day one and remained there with the third best score for day two.
"It didn't seem real in the moment. I was making so many putts. I knew where I was the whole round. I knew I was playing really well and tried to keep going lower making putts," Gallagher said. "That (65) is my best score ever. Before then it was 72, so it was a good improvement. I was hitting the ball close to the hole. I was doing that today (round two) too, but (day one) I was dialled in and made so many putts."
The OFSAA crown adds to a list of accomplishments the Burlington native has from the past two years. In 2018, Gallagher won the under-19 division at the Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) Mizuno National Championship. A year earlier Gallagher brought home the U15 title. She was also the recipient of the CJGA Helena Harbridge Award (sportsmanship, dedication, and contribution to the game of golf) in 2018.
"I've been on this incline the past two years and it's been amazing to see my improvement throughout the year," Gallagher said. "It's practising and playing and developing as a person and a player. My coach (Bradlee Ryall) is constantly improving my game and me putting in the time and effort to really improve."
Gallagher can now put last year's disappointment of missing OFSAA behind her.
"My local qualifier is GHAC and there are a lot of good players. Last year I had my worst round at the qualifier and I didn't come," said Gallagher. "This year I played really well and got in. It's a very tough field. There are only three spots, so you have to play really well."
McMurray was the GHAC champion with a round of 70, with Gallagher and Gal both firing 74s, to advance to OFSAA.
This year's OFSAA champion says winning the tournament is the crowning achievement of her young career.
"I knew it could happen if I played my game and played well. It will be my best one so far. I've had a lot of good finishes this year but I hadn't won anything," Gallagher said. "I take away that I know I can break 70 and be under par. It's really good to know that I can do that.
McMurray moves up from an OFSAA bronze medal from a year ago.
"I'm feeling good about it for sure," said the Grade 11 student. "I had great round out there (day one). Everything was just rolling my way. Then (day two) tough conditions, but our whole group grounded through it and kept it together. "
Approaching with the knowledge of each hole and the weather was instrumental in McMurray's success.
"Just placing the ball out on this course was really important and taking in account the conditions, like the wind, the greens," said McMurray.
Alexander-Carew leaves OFSAA with her top career achievement.
"Definitely yes," Alexander-Carew said. "It's really exciting. My goal was to be top five in the high school division. I was really nervous going in to the first day, but it was really exciting playing with all these people. I met some new people and saw some old friends from other tournaments."
Her 74 on day one gave the Grade nine student a commanding seven shot lead over Annie Angelescu, from Regioplis Notre Dame, in Kingston.
"Everything was working. All of my putts were dropping and my approach shots were really close to the hole. The conditions weren't too bad. My swing was good," said Alexander-Carew. "(Day two) was a little tougher with the rain and the wind, but I was happy with the score. The greens were a lot faster too."
London Oakridge's Jillian Friyia (76-77-153) had (Western Ontario) WOSSAA's best result in the open division, tying for eighth place. Arva Medway's Gabby Harrison (82-91-173) was 28th and Karolyn Rombouts (91-86-177), of Strathroy Holy Cross, 33rd.
Holijak and Choi had day two's best score in the high school division, each carding a 78.
Choi's round, a seven stroke improvement over day one, created a playoff against Bourgeois, who won on the first hole.
"I was really nervous when they said a playoff. I said, 'oh no, I have to play my best', but I didn't, but that's ok," said Choi, the top high school finisher from WOSSAA. "This is my third year playing here (OFSAA) and I'm honestly honoured to be at such a prestigious event. I know not a lot of people have that opportunity. I'm really grateful to my family and to the people who helped me get here."
Choi, who placed third at WOSSAA behind Friyia and Harrison, now trades in her clubs for skis.
"I've learned a lot of things," said Choi. "I've learned to communicate with a lot of new people that I wouldn't have done otherwise. It's a great experience for me to have been through."
Parkside Stampeder Madison Telford (96-99-195) was 34th, in the high school division. Telford either qualified or played at OFSAA in each of her five years.
London Lucas Viking Shreya Dalal (95-103-198) finished 37th, London Aquinas Flame Luciana Garavito (98-101-199), 38th and London Central's Kira Turner (100-101-201), 40th.
OFSAA had golfers from as far away as Kingston, Ottawa, Windsor, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Elliott Lake.
Open division Top 15
1. Sarah Gallagher (Bulrington Dr. F.J. Hayden) 65-73-138 2. Alexis McMurray (Oakville Iroquois Ridge) 69-74-143 3. Nicole Gal (Oakville Holy Trinity) 70-74-144 4. Madelin Boyd (Oshawa Maxwell Heights) 77-69-146 5. Erin Kim (Toronto York Mills Collegiate) 71-76-147 6. Alissa Xu (Richmond Hill) 74-75-149 7. Mia Wong (Markham St. Augustine) 71-79-150 8. Vaijayanti Bharkhada (Brampton Louise Arbour) 72-81-153 8. Alyssa Dimarcantonio (Vaughan Tommy Douglas) 72-81-153 8. Jillian Friyia (London Oakrdige) 76-77-153 11. Peyton Costabile (Brantford Pauline Johnson) 75-79-154 11. Lauren Zaretsky (Thornhill Westmount Collegiate) 76-78-154 11. Megan Fitchett (Oshawa Dwyer) 83-71-154 14. Crystal Li (Richmond Hill Jean Vanier) 76-80-156 14. Isabella Ferguson (Ottawa St. Mother Teresa) 78-78-156
High School top 15
1. Julia Alexander-Carew (Oakville Iroquois Ridge) 74-82-156 2. Grace Holijak (Barrie Eastview) 83-78-161 3. Mikayla Bourgeois (Mississauga St. Marcellinus) 83-80-163 4. Madeline Choi (Woodstock C.I) 85-78-163 5. Abigail Dove (Whitby Brooklin) 86-84-170 6. Maria Bounsouk (Ottawa St. Mother Teresa) 83-89-172 6. Sasha Baker (Dunnville) 86-86-172 8. Caisey VanDenOetelaar (Whitby Donald A. Wilson) 87-87-174 9. Mia Macari (Tecumseh St. Anne) 84-91-175 9. Ella Dupius (Barrie St. Joseph's) 87-88-175 11. Annie Anghelescu (Kingston Notre Dame)81-95-176 11. Emily Archambeault (LaSalle Sandwich) 92-84-176 13. Bryden Dilley (Peterborough St. Peter's) 82-95-177 13. Casey Kenney (St. Catharines Sir Winston Churchill) 84-93-177 13. Mia Sung (King City Country Day) 85-92-177 13. Siera Mohun (Uxbridge) 88-89-177