Dream no nightmare

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

You'd say it could have been worse, except, well, no one was worse.

Jade Polonich was dead last. One hundred and fifty-sixth.

Thirteen over par. An 84.

And it was still the most mystical, magical, marvellous day Jade Polonich has ever experienced right from the first moment on the first tee through to the bitter end when she plunked one in the lake on 18 to take double bogey.

Especially the first hole.

When the starter introduced her, the crowd erupted with a huge ovation.

You could physically see the effect it had on her. Nervous would be an understatement.

"I don't know how many people there were on the first tee for me. It seemed like a million," she remarked.

Well, not quite. The crowd count for the day was 13,400 to go with the 7,000 from the front end of the week with the practice round and Pro-Am.

Many members of her gallery wore 'Go Jade Go' buttons made up by the Country Club where she works in the pro shop.

Her fiance Ron 'Goldie' McClendon of the Edmonton Eskimos, was walking the course watching her play, the team electing to travel to Regina for Saturday's game against the Roughriders this morning instead of yesterday as McClendon had expected.

"I had all sorts of new feelings today, feelings I've never experienced in my life. There was no way to prepare for it," said the daughter of 14-year NHLer Dennis Polonich.

"On that first tee, it felt like my heart was going to explode. There was so much love."

She somehow nailed a perfect drive but ended up with her first bogey of the day.

"I was just thrilled with my drive."

Polonich, 24, won her way into the tournament as a longshot in Monday qualifying.

"It felt like the day was going so fast. I just tried to stay calm. More than anything I wanted to savour every single moment."

McClendon said he was proud of her.

"It was awesome," he said.

"I was just glad it worked out that I could be there for her."


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