Sunday 7 July 2024

Hockey's Loss Is Golf's Gain

The young lady in the image has been in these photos before. That's former St. Mary's Academy Flames forward Addison Kartusch standing for another championship photo alongside the Golf Manitoba Amateur Women's Championship Trophy, and she continues to rack up the honours and accolades before she heads south this fall for NCAA golf action. The hard part about this story for a hockey writer is that she called it a career when it comes to high-level, competitive hockey, but I don't think she's going to stop winning with her commitment to fairways and greens. As she proved this weekend, she's just as good as scoring birdies as she is scoring goals!

Kartusch entered the weekend as the defending champion of Manitoba's amateur championship, and she kicked the weekend off by carding an even-par 72 in Round One of the tournament on Thursday, giving her a two-stroke lead over two golfers as they prepared for Friday. As she told Thomas Friesen of The Brandon Sun, she was focused on her process coming into the weekend.

"That's all I can do," she told Friesen. "I can't control the outcome so I stick to what I know best. I even wrote 'Process' on my glove just to remind myself to bring myself back into my own space when I start thinking about 'how many shots am I ahead or behind?'"

That process certainly was on display as she navigated the par-72 Minnedosa Golf and Country Club on Friday afternoon, carding a one-under 71. Only Cala Korman matched that score, but her Thursday score left her at four-over-par compared to Kartusch's impressive one-under score after 36 holes. With a five-stroke lead over the rest of the field, it appeared that Kartusch was in the driver's seat when it came to the final round of this year's championship.

Kartusch was looking to add the amateur championship to the Manitoba match play championship she had won on June 2 at Breezy Bend Golf and Country Club for the second year in a row and third in her last four tries. The message that she delivered to Joshua Frey-Sam of the Winnipeg Free Press after posing for with the match play trophy sounded a lot like this weekend's statement.

"Starting off with a win is nice but I'm not going to focus on it too much and create higher expectations for myself," she said. "Yes, the outcome is good but just continue to focus on my process no matter the outcome."

The scores carded on Sunday went up for all the golfers as the course's layout was a little more difficult, but Kartusch was able to handle the changes. Charmaine Hayden carded the lowest score for the day at 71, but Kartusch's 77 was better than the golfers chasing her as she finished the day as thunderstorms rolled in with a three-round score of 220 for a four-over-par finish for the tournament and six strokes better than second-place finisher Jeri Lafleche!

Kartusch's defence of the amateur championship sets her up well for the upcoming Manitoba Women's Provincial Junior Championship at Niakwa Country Club running from July 10-12, and it may be a showdown between Kartusch and Lafleche on Lafleche's home course. In both the match play championship and the amateur championship, Lafleche finished in second-place to Kartusch so next weekend could be a big weekend between two of Manitoba's best young golfers!

As the golf season turns to colder weather, Addison Kartusch was usually getting herself back into hockey mode, but that won't be the case this season as she's off to Bowling Green University where she's accepted a golf scholarship to play NCAA Division-1 golf for the Falcons. We spoke to her about her decision to head to Bowling Green on The Hockey Show back on Janury 18, and it was clear that she was excited for the opportunity! Might we have talked to the next Lorie Kane or Brooke Henderson? We shall see!

"It's kind of nice to just focus on golf," she told Friesen, "but I'm still focusing on fun because I think that's where everyone kind of loses their enjoyment."

Congratulations to Addison Kartusch on winning the Golf Manitoba Amateur Women's Championship, and we'll be watching the leaderboard this weekend at the Provincial Junior Championship! I have a suspicion that the Kartusch name will be at or near the top all weekend long, and it would be a great way to lead into her NCAA career with a third-straight championship this summer!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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