2023 World Junior Girls Golf Championship

Team Canada wins first-ever title at World Junior Girls Championship

Brampton, ON – The most successful season in Canadian golf history added another exciting chapter on Saturday as Team Canada won its first-ever team title at the World Junior Girls Golf Championship, presented by Sargent Farms.

The Canada 1 Team comprised 14-year-old Anna Huang of Vancouver (71-69-70-70—280), 17-year-old Vanessa Borovilos of Toronto (70-73-73-75—291), and 17-year-old Vanessa Zhang of Vancouver (72-75-80-68—295) shot a team-total 138 under cool and blustery conditions at Brampton Golf Club in Brampton, Ont. to finish at 4-under 564 for the championship, a single shot clear of the Republic of Korea.

Canada 1, who began the day with a share of the third-round lead alongside Korea and the United States, needed a late-round charge to overtake Korea, who held a one-shot team lead through 16 holes.

The tournament shifted on the par-5 17th hole when Huang made a birdie for Canada and Korea’s Soomin Oh made a bogey. Zhang then stepped up with a birdie on the par-4 18th, followed by Huang rolling in a par-putt to secure Canada’s first-ever team gold medal at the prestigious international junior championship.

Team Canada 1 Coach Jeff MacDonald of Chester, N.S. was proud of how his team battled all week, going head-to-head with powerhouse challengers from Korea and the United States to earn the prestigious title – of world champions.

“It feels really amazing, the girls have worked so hard, they all contributed so much today, it was really close all day and they dealt with the stress really, really well,” said MacDonald, who was especially proud of the team’s resolve and self-belief that they could win. “Anna made a huge birdie on 17 while Vanessa was rolling in an incredible 30-footer on 18. We always knew it was a good company to be in, they (Korea and the USA) weren’t going to back down. The Koreans made a lot of putts today, they were exceptional, and our Canadians really stepped up to the occasion. They never felt like they couldn’t win this golf tournament. The whole time they knew they belonged, and they knew they could compete with those countries. They were competing, they wanted to win, and they knew they could win the whole time.”

“I think me, and Vanessa (Zhang) did a great job on the last four holes, we both made two birdies, so that was a really great comeback for us, I’m just really proud of how we all did as a team, its not just individual scores, its all about the team effort,” said Huang.

Canada’s previous best team finish at the World Junior Girls Golf Championship was a bronze medal in 2014.

“I don’t think we all had super high expectations going into this event, we just set out to do our best every single day and it was nice that we saw ourselves on the leaderboard, it more just came down to keeping our practice routines the same and trying our best each and every shot,” said Zhang.

“It’s such a cool experience, I said this earlier this week, you’re playing for something bigger than yourself, you’re playing for a team, and to do this together, feels pretty cool,” added Borovilos.

The two-time past winners from Korea would finish with the silver medal, shooting a team-total 3-under 565 followed by Czech Republic earning bronze at 4-over 572. Rounding out the top-five were Sweden (5-over 573) and Mexico (8-over 576).

The Team Canada 2 squad of 14-year-old Miranda Lu of Vancouver, 16-year-old Luna Lu of Burnaby, B.C. and 14-year-old Eileen Park of Red Deer, Alta. finished 18th.

World Junior Girls Championship, presented by Sargent Farms – final team standings:

1​ Canada 1 ​(-4)​ 141-142-143-138—564

2​ Korea ​(-3)​ 143-141-142-139—565

3​ Czech Republic​ (+4)​ 145-142-142-143—572

4 ​Sweden ​(+5)​ 140-147-144-142—573

5​ Mexico​ (+8)​ 144-144-149-139—576

6​ United States ​(+9)​ 139-142-145-151—577

7​ Belgium ​(+12)​ 142-149-146-143—580

8​ Spain​ (+15)​ 143-144-149-147—583

9 ​Italy​ (+16) ​146-144-152-142—584

10​ England​ (+17) ​141-148-149-147—585

11​Germany​ (+26)​ 148-147-149-150—594

12 ​Finland​ (+28)​ 146-147-154-149—596

13​ Denmark​ (+29) ​151-147-147-152—597

14​ Poland​ (+32) ​148-147-150-155—600

15​ Chinese Taipei ​(+35) ​148-153-146-156—603

T16​ Switzerland​ (+36)​ 148-147-158-151—604

T16​ Colombia​ (+36)​ 153-150-151-150—604

18​ Canada 2​ (+43) ​154-151-153-153—611

19​ Peru ​(+44)​ 151-155-158-148—612

20 ​Iceland​ (+47)​ 152-156-154-153—615

T21​ Austria ​(+51)​ 149-154-159-157—619

T21 ​Wales​ (+51)​ 155-158-156-150—619

Click HERE for the full team competition leaderboard.

In the individual competition, third-round leader Denisa Vodickova of the Czech Republic followed up yesterday’s scorching 66 with a final-round even par 71 to win the Czech Republic’s first-ever individual medal in the eight-year history of the championship. An adjustment a month ago to her putting grip brought a great sense of confidence into the championship, finishing 7-under 277 for the tournament.

“It’s amazing, I feel great. I was very nervous today, I messed up the 17th hole a little bit and wasn’t sure I was still leading but was very glad about the finish,” said Vodickova, who plans to play college golf at Wake Forest next year. “My putting was really good, I’m putting cross-handed now, I changed a month ago and it’s working really well.”

With the victory, the 18-year-old earns an exemption into the 2024 CPKC Women’s Open next July at the Earl Grey Golf Club in Calgary, Alta.

Canadian Anna Huang capped off a tournament to remember, earning runner-up honours in the individual competition in addition to helping Canada win its first-ever team title. Huang, who finished T11 in 2022, shot a final-round 1-under 70 to finish at 4-under 280 for the championship, three shots back.

The runner-up finish for Huang was the best by a Canadian in the individual competition since Brooke Henderson’s fourth-place finish in 2014.

Soomin Oh of Korea finished third at 3-under 281 while Savanah de Bock of Belgium (1-under 283) and Nora Sundberg of Sweeden (2-over 286) rounded out the top-five.

Click HERE for the final round individual leaderboard.

This year marked the largest field in tournament history, with a total of 66 athletes comprising 22 teams and representing 21 countries competing for the team and individual titles.

Fairways Magazine

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