It’s a happy ending for Cara Vanderham who finished her season taking tour champ title at Wolf Creek last month.
“I’ve played the tour since I started competing. It was my first competition and five years later I got to win it, so that’s kind of cool,” said Vanderham, 18, of the McLennan Ross Sun Junior Golf Tour.
And the win didn’t come easily. Vanderham, who was already enjoying her victory, went to grab a bite and get ready for some interviews when she was told she tied for 78 with one other player.
“It was so crazy,” she said of having to quickly hop back out to the 15th hole, and regain her composure for a sudden-victory playoff against Carolyn Lee of Calgary.
It only lasted one hole. Vanderham won.
Vanderham, who just graduated from high school, is taking a year off and may look into scholarships for schools next year.
“If it happens, great, I’ll go for it. If not, I’ll continue to play anyway, even if it’s just for fun,” she said of the sport that she’s played for 10 years, and doesn’t plan to give up any time soon.
She just started playing in the ladies amateur league and competed in a tournament in July.
“It’s great to be playing ladies,” said Vanderham of the experience. “It’s just more mature, I’m with older women with more experience and who are really serious.” She said in the junior tour there were about nine girls and she was the oldest. Now she’s mixed in with women of all ages and said there’s a lot more to learn from everyone.
She said the sport doesn’t typically draw the attention of many girls.
“There’s a lot of younger girls coming up, which is great to see. I think sometimes girls might be intimidated by the sport because there are so many boys playing it. But they shouldn’t be,” she said hoping more girls in Innisfail give it a try. “People may think, oh, it’s not cool, it’s not exciting, but it is.” She said it takes a lot for a person to learn the skills, but the rush of winning and even competing, is worth it.
Vanderham shot 75 in Innisfail and 77 in Olds over the summer during McLennan Ross events and won the ladies club championship overall for Innisfail Golf Club for the second year in a row, shooting 79-81 there.