Only two names have appeared on the Mount Brenton Ladies’ Amateur Golf Tournament’s low gross trophy the last nine years: Christina Proteau of the Alberni Valley and Players Club’s Shelly Stouffer.
It wasn’t much of a surprise then that a tie for the low gross lead of this year’s tournament after the regulation 36 holes Sunday involved none other than Proteau and Stouffer. They went to a playoff hole after carding identical 149s for the two-day weekend event in Chemainus and Proteau drained a birdie putt on No. 10 for the win while Stouffer settled for par.
It was probably Proteau’s turn in a sense. The two have alternated titles the last five years, with Proteau also winning in 2016 and 2014, and Stouffer in 2017 and 2015.
The dominance of the two actually goes way back to 2008 when a 25-year-old Proteau captured her first low gross crown at Mount Brenton. After Alison Murdoch won in 2009, the two began their streak, with Proteau victorious in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and Stouffer in 2012.
“It always promises to be good competition when the two of us are out there,” said Proteau.
Stouffer took the first round lead with a 73 Saturday, even after shooting a nine on the par-five 13th hole, while Proteau carded a 76. But the scores were reversed Sunday, with Proteau battling back to tie with a 73 while Stouffer slipped to 76, leading to the playoff where Proteau calmly tapped in her short putt on the first extra hole to gain back the title from her rival and friend.
Now 35, Proteau is still on top of her game even after taking time away from golf late last year for her second child.
As she grows older, “I have to be a little kinder to myself,” she said. “It’s still the same competitive drive.”
There’s always a big tournament on the horizon in late August for Proteau, but she loves to squeeze the Mount Brenton event into her schedule.
“It usually falls before the Canadian Mid-Amateur,” she noted. “It’s a great practice for that.”
Proteau is off to the Niagara region next week to play in that event at Lookout Point Country Club in Fonthill, Ont.
What keeps her coming back to Mount Brenton is the camaraderie of the players.
“The course is super fun to play,” Proteau said. “You see the same group of ladies you usually see a couple of times a year. The competitors are treated to not only good golf, good fun. There’s draw prizes, all that good stuff. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”
There were, however, only 61 players in the field this year that left the event dangerously close to being cancelled. “It would be great to see more people out,” conceded Proteau.
Tournament committee member Kath Burnell said some late entries saved the day in the last couple of weeks, even with six cancellations at the last minutes due to a variety of factors, including the smoky conditions around the province from wildfires that caused one player to back out.
Proteau’s friend Shawn Farmer Sese from Seattle came third in low gross with rounds of 80 and 77 for a 157.
The rest of the top 10 featured: Colleen Wheatley of Arbutus Ridge (80-78—158); Josee Deslauriers of Morningstar (87-77—164); Darleen Michell of Mount Brenton (86-81—167), who actually gave up her low gross spot by finishing higher in low net; Georgina Hermans of Cottonwood (87-85—172); Betty Campbell from Storey Creek (91-84—175); Denise Walker of Cordova Bay (90-86—176); and Krista Nabb of Duncan Meadows (86-91—177).
In low net, Mount Brenton’s Geri Elchuk took top spot at 142. Michell was the runner-up at 143 while three players tied at 144 – Mount Brenton’s Sandra Deptford and Heather Owsianski, and March Meadows’ Lorraine Hemstalk.