Wong survives stumble to stay ahead

AMANDA ROBINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

The 13th hole could have been fatal.

It's known as a tricky hole and Canadian junior girls golf championship leader Christine Wong fell into its trap.

After solid play on the front nine at Sunningdale, the Richmond, B.C., native hit a rough spot when she hit her ball from the fairway into the rough at the edge of the pond.

Right to left, back and forth, Wong was hoping to find the perfect position that would allow her to get her ball onto the green.

She swung but hit the ball backward into the pond. Frustrated, she slammed her club to the ground and settled a few yards back with a penalty stroke, finishing the hole with a triple-bogey seven.

"It made me snap back to reality because I (was playing) so well," Wong said.

A little shaken, she said she started singing to herself to calm her nerves.

"I sometimes sing songs from my iPod just to relax myself," she said.

Don't Stop the Music by Rihanna and Bartender by Akon are favourite songs.

Wong bounced back, birdying the 14th and making par on the last four holes to finish with a two-over 74, four shots up Laura Blanco of Columbia heading into the final round.

If Wong were to take home the title today, it would be her first major tournament championship.

"That would be so cool . . . it would mean a lot, I've never won a tournament outside of the province (B.C)," she said.

"It surprised me two days ago when I shot under par, I'm playing at my best."

Blanco also stepped up her game yesterday, as her 73 bumped defending champion Maude-Aimee LeBlanc of Quebec from second place down to a tie for third, two strokes behind Blanco.

Leblanc had her second straight 76 and is five-over for the tournament, the same as Brittany Henderson from Smith Falls and Nicole Vandermade of Brantford.

But the Quebec native shrugged off the day.

"It was just one of those days," she said. "I was hitting the ball good, I didn't make too many mistakes, I just didn't make too many putts."

LeBlanc remains confident about her chances to win the tournament although the competition is stiff, she finds the course easier than last year at Gowan Brae Golf and Country Club in Bathurst, N.B.

Her plan for today isn't anything new: just hit the fairways and greens and make some putts.

And for Blanco who's competing in her first Canadian tournament, she plans to drink a lot of water during the final round.

"(Yesterday) I drank a lot of water to calm myself down," she said.

Early in the round, she let her nerves get the best of her as she felt the pressure of being one of the tournament leaders.

"I don't have a definite strategy except doing the best I can because every whole is an important hole," Blanco said.

Two area players made the cut of 24 * -- Natalie Gleadall of Stratford (80-237) and Meaghan Potosschnik of Stratford (80-243), who is a Sunningdale member.

About 70 girls were cut yesterday, among them area players Taylor Schmidt of Kincardine, Robyn Doig of Seaforth, Brianna Cooper of Kincardine, Maureen Mommersteeg of St. Thomas, Corey Crossan of London and Dachelle Frey of Woodstock.

The remaining girls will tee off today in the final round starting at 7:30 a.m.


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