Quite A Canadian Club at Women’s Amateur

Recent North Carolina State graduate Brittany Marchand was one of four Canadian national team members to qualify for match play at this week's U.S. Women's Amateur. (USGA/Darren Carroll) 
By Lisa D. Mickey
August 7, 2014

GLEN COVE, N.Y. – Five Canadians qualified for match play at this week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, but before the event started at Nassau Country Club each was fully aware that it has been nearly 40 years since a Canadian lifted the Robert Cox Trophy.


Video: Team Canada Succeeding At Women's Amateur 

To be exact, Cathy Sherk, in 1978, was the last Canadian to win this championship. Prior to that, World Golf Hall of Fame member Marlene Stewart Streit won it in 1956.


“The gap since the last Canadian winner is part of the reason why we now have the Team Canada program,” said Canadian national team coach Tristan Mullally, a PGA professional who keeps his national players’ swing mechanics sharp.

“We feel there should have been more success since the last U.S. Women’s Amateur winner, but Canada is a big country with a small volume of golfers. We want to find ways for players to be as good as they can be.”

Part of that national push is evident in the team approach utilized by the players. The national team members wear matching uniforms each day, dine together in the clubhouse and huddle with coaches for discussions in the practice areas both before and after matches.

Away from the course, Team Canada focuses on mental performance, strength and conditioning, equipment fitting, nutrition, technique, course management and planning.

Thanks to corporate funding, Golf Canada travels to elite amateur competitions throughout Canada, the United States and around the world. National team members are  also lodging together this week in a restored mansion located on the old Guggenheim estate on Long Island’s North Shore.

“All year, we approach every event as a team even though we play as individuals,” said Mullally. “We train together, practice together and travel together, and when our players get knocked out of competition, we support the ones who are still in it.”

Four of the five national team members qualified for match play, led by Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, a 16-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, who is No. 2 in the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking™ and the low amateur at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She was joined by Augusta James, Brittany Marchand and Anne-Catherine Tanguay. All but Tanguay advanced into Thursday’s round of 32, with Henderson and James the lone survivors into the round of 16.

One other Canadian, Elizabeth Tong, also moved into Thursday’s round of 32, however, the Indiana University senior isn’t on the national team, which is selected through a structured qualifying system based on national and provincial performance results. Tong lost to James, 2 down.

Players who earn a spot on the team also must play well enough to stay on the team, based on each year’s order-of-merit system in Canadian amateur events.

“All girls growing up in Canada want to be a part of the national team,” said Henderson, who tied for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and also made the cut in the 2013 Women’s Open.

Henderson reached the round of 16 with a 4-and-3 win over Ember Schuldt.

“Definitely, golf in Canada is growing, which is nice to see,” added Henderson, who has been on the national team for three years and represented Canada in the 2012 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. “Hopefully, we’ll just keep going.”

The 2013 Canadian Ladies Amateur champion, Henderson credits Team Canada for offering support in every facet of her game.

“We have amazing coaching through this program,” she said. “I have access to coaches, a physical trainer, a psychologist, a physical therapist and a nutritionist. And because of the financial support, I’ve competed with the team in Scotland, Colombia, Turkey and in a lot of events in the U.S.”

The camaraderie between the players is also evident, which can make a long week of stressful match play more fun. Following her first-round match on Wednesday, Henderson stayed on the course to cheer for Marchand. On Thursday, the two were seen walking back to the clubhouse after their respective matches.

“I love coming to events like this because people see us in our uniforms and know we’re here together,” said Marchand, 22, of Orangeville, Ontario, a fourth-year Team Canada member who lost, 2 and 1, to Dylan Kim on Thursday.

“I think we’ve made a name for ourselves in golf and I think we’re proving we’re great in competition,” added Marchand, who just completed her collegiate eligibility at North Carolina State University, where she played for four years. One of her college teammates was James.

Like Henderson, Marchand also credits much of her personal success and growth as a player due to Canada’s support of the national team. Having expenses covered at competitions, as well as the benefit of on-site coaching and support from her compatriots, has enabled the Canadian to improve “by leaps and bounds.”

“Honestly, sometimes your success is not about technique,” added Marchand. “Sometimes, it’s about what you’re thinking before you get to the first tee and our coaches help us with that.”

While supportive of each other, members of Team Canada are still fiercely competitive. Each wants to win and when they have to play each other, it’s with the understanding that they will still amicably shake hands when the match concludes. But when one of them wins a championship, the team is also there to celebrate.

“When Augusta [James] won the Canadian Women’s Amateur in July, the whole team ran out on the green and sprayed her with water,” said Marchand. “We want the best for each other.”

And Team Canada wants the best for its top golfers. On its website, the mission statement is simple: “Our mission is to produce the best amateur golfers in the world.”

Already, that goal is on track. Canada currently has three players among the top 75 in the WAGR. Besides Henderson, James is No. 30 and Marchand No. 71.

“This program is about promoting excellence,” said Mullally. “And we’re all in this to have these players grow the game of golf in Canada.”

Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.

Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image