Wong handed lead

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

The ball was a Titleist -- same brand she played all day.

But after punching a shot out of the rough near the woods onto Sunningdale's 18th green yesterday, defending Canadian junior girls golf champion Maude-Aimee LeBlanc was forced to go back and do it again after it was determined she hit a ball that didn't belong to her.

The result -- a two-stroke penalty and a quadruple-bogey eight on the 340-yard par-4 final hole -- dropped Leblanc into second place, four shots behind a surprising leader through two rounds of this year's national championship.

LeBlanc's untimely episode propelled Richmond, B.C.'s Christine Wong into the lead. The 15-year-old carded a one-under-par 71 and is at three-under 141 for the tournament. The 18-year-old LeBlanc is one-over after a shocking 76.

LeBlanc admitted to the mistake and headed straight to the driving range after signing her scorecard to complete a long day on the course. She was exhausted after squeezing in 24 holes to make up for bad weather on the opening day.

"We got back to the hotel late (Tuesday) and had to get up at 4 a.m. to get ready for our second round so we really didn't get any sleep," said the six-foot-one Purdue University student and native of Windsor, Que. "I feel like I'm playing better (than when she won last year). I don't feel like I have to do anything different -- just play the way I have been."

The mistake was a heartbreaker for the Quebec golfer, who dominated the field and won by seven strokes last year at Gowan Brae Golf and Country Club in leading her province to its first interprovincial title in 20 years. Wong and British Columbia took back the crown for the fifth time in eight years but LeBlanc's miscue had no effect on the outcome.

B.C. finished ahead of Ontario by 10 strokes and beat Quebec by 11 shots.

"She hit the wrong ball and it's not the best way to finish but she'll bounce back -- she's a good golfer," said B.C.'s Jessica Wallace, who played in the day's final trio with LeBlanc and Ancaster's Laura Hildebrandt. "It does take a little bit out of winning the team title. It was just a difficult day. Because of (Tuesday's) weather, I didn't tee off until 5:15 p.m. and then you have to come back the next day and start at 7 a.m.

"It should get better after we all have some sleep."

Wong and her family were looking on at greenside as LeBlanc finished -- just as surprised as anyone else. Wong played in the tournament at age 13 two years ago in her home province before skipping the event last year.

"This is a big tournament for me -- it's one I wanted to play in this year," she said. "I'm pretty happy with the way I'm playing. I don't know (if LeBlanc can be beat). We'll have to see what happens."

Wong is young enough to win the tournament's juvenile division for golfers under age 16. She is currently five strokes better than Laura Blanco Trujillo.

Among area golfers, Brantford's Nicole Vandermere carded 75-74 for a five-over 149, followed by Paris native Jennifer Kirby (76-74--150), Stratford's Natalie Gleadall (75-82--157), Sunningdale's Meaghan Pototschnik (82-81--163) and clubmate Corey Crossan (88-92--180), Brantford's Devon Rizzo (81-84--165), Seaforth's Robyn Doig (84-83--167), Michelle Mommersteeg of St. Thomas (87-90--177) and Woodstock's Dachelle Frey (109-101--210).

The cut is after today's third round and sat at 17-over prior to tee off.


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