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Amy Seung Hyun Lee captures B.C. Women's Amateur in Balfour

Lee finished the final round ahead by three strokes to win at Balfour Golf Course

Amy Seung Hyun Lee teed off Thursday with a record-breaking ambition. She'll have to settle for a provincial title instead.

The Langley native fired a final-round 70 to win at the 119th B.C. Women’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championship at Balfour Golf Course. It was the first provincial championship to be hosted by Balfour in the course's 34-year history.

Lee, who won the amateur title, made an opening-round splash Tuesday by tying the women's course record with a 67. That provided her space to relax at the top of the leaderboard and start chasing a lower score.

"Today I had no pressure," she said Thursday after finishing the tournament 11-under par. "The players are really great and they're all amazing juniors, but my goal was to break the course record."

She didn't quite get there, scoring a second-round 68 before holding off the field on the last day with a strong start that included three birdies on the first four holes.

It was enough to beat a last-round charge by Ha Young Chang of Surrey, who set the new record Lee had been eyeing with a 65. Chang finished three strokes back in second place.

Chang entered the third round eight strokes back of Lee in fourth place. Her final round included eight birdies, with the only blemish coming on Hole 10 where she bogied, en route to a second-place finish three strokes behind Lee.

Unlike Lee, Chang wasn't thinking about course records. She was more hopeful for a better day on the greens Thursday, which she got and then some.

"I think my putting was better today. I made a lot of putts, and I felt more confident with it. The first round, the second round, they were also good, but I feel like today it was just a better day for me." 

Aram Choi of Surrey meanwhile won the mid-amateur title for golfers 25 years of age and over, and also finished third overall for the amateur title. The former pro never gave up first place and finished 2-under par, eight strokes the better of B.C. Hall of Famer and runner-up Shelly Stouffer.

But no one was better than Lee, who is among B.C.'s rising golf stars. The 16-year-old previously won the provincial juvenile girls title in 2022 and finished tied for 22 at last year's Canadian Junior Girls Championship. Still in Grade 10, she now has her name on one of the province's most prestigious golf trophies.

"I feel really honoured. I just hope [the women's amateur] keeps on continuing because it's such a great event. All the volunteers and staff are all so nice, and it's really good organization so hopefully I can come back next year and defend my title."

Top-three finishes at the B.C. amateur also earned Lee, Chang and Choi berths at the Canadian Women's Amateur Championship, which runs July 29-Aug. 2 at Royal Colwood Golf Club in Victoria.

They were nearly joined by West Vancouver's Jenny Guo, who at 12 years old was the youngest player entered in the event and was a constant focus for impressed spectators. Guo had also fired a second-round 67 and but couldn't keep pace with Lee on Thursday after falling behind with four bogies on the back nine.

But it was still a positive experience for Guo, who finished fifth overall at 1-under. She was part of the final group with Lee, and said she'd never been watched by so many spectators before.

"My shots weren't that good today, but it was OK. It was still a pretty good round."

The Kootenays were also represented on the leaderboard. Procter's Jackie Little, whose the mid-amateur trophy is named after, finished fifth in the hunt for the mid-am and 11-over for the tournament. She was followed by Shauna Lim of Grand Forks (56-over), Castlegar’s Kim Matson (58-over), Balfour’s Roma Crispin (62-over), and Kimberley’s Shannon Bjarnason (63-over).

Tyler Harper

About the Author: Tyler Harper

I’m editor-reporter at the Nelson Star, where I’ve worked since 2015.
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