2006 saw something completely different as DM hosted its first professional tournament when the season-opening event of the CN Women's Professional Tour came to town.
That tournament was settled in a play-off won by Oregon's Taya Battistella, who chipped in on the first extra hole to defeat 4 others, including Mary Ann Lapointe, the 4 time Canadian Amateur Champion.
A full report courtesy of Inside Golf follows...
By Jeff Sutherland, Inside Golf
Golf fans and spectators at the Duncan Meadows Golf and Country Club were treated to a thrilling finish as American Taya Battistella outlasted four other golfers with a birdie on the first playoff hole to win the season-opening event on the CN Canadian Women’s Tour.
Battistella fired rounds of 73-77 and finished tied with fellow Americans Kim Kouwabunpat and Jessica Carafiello as well as Canadians Lisa Meldrum of Montreal & Mary Ann Lapointe of Georgetown, Ontario... all at 6-over 150.
The 26-year old Oregon native had a chance for the outright victory on the 18th hole but three-putted from 25 feet for bogey to open the door to the playoff. Battistella would regain her composure on the first playoff hole and with two of her competitors sitting with putts for par, she would drain a 40-foot chip for birdie to seal the victory.
The victory capped an exciting final round that saw nearly a dozen lead changes between the final grouping of Battistella, Jennifer Wyatt of Richmond, B.C. and Jennifer Greggain of Chilliwack, B.C. All three would struggle opening the door for the rest of the field. Wyatt would just miss a short putt on eighteen to miss the play-off while Greggain was in control of the tournament until a late stumble allowed the straight hitting Battistella to take the lead. Top amateur honours went to Mary Ann Lapointe, a member of the National Team who fired matching 75s to earn her way into the playoff.
With the victory, Battistella earned the $5,000 winner’s share of the $30,000 purse as well as an automatic exemption into the $1.7 million (US) CN Canadian Women’s Open, August 7-13 at the London Hunt and Country Club in London, Ontario.
“I’ m just so excited to get the victory and the exemption,” said Battistella, a three-year pro who will be playing in her first career LPGA Tour event in London. “I had a lot of nerves heading into the playoff after letting it slip away on the 18th. I knew I needed to regain my composure and to chip in for birdie on that tough green was just so special and it feels unbelievable.”
The round of the tournament belonged to Kelowna native Tiarra Honce who fired a scorching final round three-under 69 to vault into 10th. Honce, who plays out of Predator Ridge near Vernon, will be playing in all CN Women’s Tour events across the country. The challenging Duncan Meadows layout continued to show its teeth as Honce’s 69 was the lone round under par for the championship.
This marks the third time in as many years that Vancouver Island’s Duncan Meadows has played host to an RCGA national championship and still no-one has managed to post a par or better score for a tournament total. The facility has also been selected to host the BC Men’s Amateur in 2009 and they plan to lengthen the 6600+ yard course in preparation for this event.