Can Jil make it two straight Amateur wins?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Four!

Jil Swenson begins her quest for the elusive quad this morning when she tries to add another Edmonton Ladies Amateur title to the ones she captured in 1999, 2001 and 2004.

"I would love to repeat," said the 24-year-old, who could join Heather Lee (1988, 1990-91-92) in the Four-Time club if she beats a tough, tough field at the Highlands.

Nobody's catching 25-time champion Betty Cole, but Swenson wants to make a statement in the 36-hole event nonetheless.

"I've won it three times already, but none of them were back to back," she said. "It would be nice to go out and do it two years in a row. If I go out and play as well as I can, I think I'll be near the top."

There's no reason to doubt it. Since winning last year (in a two-hole playoff with 17-year-old Whitney Cox), Swenson's been on a well-travelled roll.

She won her club championship at Belvedere, finished fifth in the provincials, second at the Canadian championships and is just back from England, where she competed at the British Ladies Amateur.

AMAZING EXPERIENCE

"That was amazing," said Swenson. "I have such an appreciation for European players and even the tour players who go over there and play in the British (Open).

"It's phenomenal to go over there and see all these European players and see what you'd kind of be up against at a world level. It's also the roots of golf over there. Being able to play where people actually started the game is spectacular."

It is, however, an entirely different game than the one they play over here. Lush, manicured fairways are replaced by hard-pan, gnarly fescue and gusting wind.

"It's a different world over there," said Swenson, adding yardages are pretty much a guess. "There are no markers whatsoever. Nothing. They have yardage manuals, but they're from random bunkers, bushes or swales in the fairway. On one hole they had it marked from two bushes.

"That's all they had in the book - two bushes. But you get out there and there's five bushes. I'm looking at it: which bush is it? And the depth perception is a lot different because there aren't any trees behind the green. Throw in the wind and..."

TOOK HER LUMPS

Swenson took her lumps getting used to it, a first-round 90 that took her out of contention right out of the blocks, but she rebounded with a second-round 78.

"Each day you're over there, you get a little more comfortable with the conditions and the course layout," she said. "I think if I had one more day over there, I could have made the cut."

But she can't say enough about the impact going to England, not to mention finishing second at the 2004 Canadian Ladies Amateur, had on her game.

"All the experiences I've had last fall and over the winter have helped me grow as a player," she said. "They've definitely helped my mental game. That's something I hope to take advantage of this week - along with having yardages and going back to what's considered normal golf for us."


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