Canadian is queen of American golf

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

She was not ready to call it the biggest win of her decorated amateur golf career, but Mary Ann Lapointe admitted there was something special about entering uncharted territory yesterday.

The Georgetown resident became the first non-American to win the U.S. women's mid-amateur championship (for players aged 25 and up), winning 1-up against Kerry Postillion in the final of the 19-year-old event in Richmond, Tex., yesterday.

"It's pretty big," said Lapointe, 45, a four-time Canadian amateur champion and five-time Ontario winner. "My first Canadian (in 1993) was probably a bigger thrill. But this is one title I've had my eye on for a couple of years and it's great."

The Montreal-born golfer appeared to be on track to make some noise at the 2004 U.S. mid-amateur, but a car accident in Georgetown a few weeks before the event bruised her ribs and ended a fine season, which included a Canadian title and a second-place finish with the Canadian team at the world championship in Puerto Rico.

Lapointe was having a ho-hum 2005 before the Ontario mid-amateur earlier this month in Belleville when she won the two-day event by an astounding 18 strokes.

"It has been a bit of a struggle this summer, but it came together after the Canadians when I shot 67-68 in Belleville at the mid-amateur and I won by 18 shots," said Lapointe, who was competing in her fourth U.S. mid-am. "I could feel everything coming together and I came in here very confident with my game. It had been a so-so year, but then you pull off a win like this and all of a sudden it's a great year."

Lapointe, who played professionally on mini-tours for a couple of years in the early 1980s and failed in two attempts to earn an LPGA Tour card, saw a 4-up lead after 10 holes slip to one after 16 yesterday, but parred in to seal the win in the 132-player event. Sixty-four players qualified for match play after the two-round stroke play portion.

"I was confident I could get it back together again," said Lapointe, a mother of two teenage daughters and a part-time bookkeeper and accountant. "I just told myself standing on the 17th tee after bogeying four of the last five holes, a lot of people would like to be in my shoes right now."

Lapointe is coached by one of her three older golf-playing brothers, John Hayward, the pro at Mystic Golf Club in Ancaster. Her father, Charlie, 79, still plays four or five times a week.

"She amazes me," Hayward said. "She's 45 years old and she is arguably one of the top 10 amateurs in the world year in and year out. I've never met anyone as competitive as her."


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