Makin’ it look easy

Con­sis­tency pays off for Xiao in win­ning cham­pi­onships

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - DON CAMP­BELL

Su­san Xiao trav­elled all the way from Sur­rey, B.C., to ru­ral Cum­ber­land think­ing a top-10 fin­ish would make the long round-trip all worth it.

Well it cer­tainly was — ev­ery kilo­me­tre of it.

By the time she made the club­house turn Fri­day, with nine of 72 holes still to play, the ul­tra-com­posed 15-yearold al­ready had a pretty good idea she was about to be­come both the Cana­dian ju­nior and ju­ve­nile cham­pion at the 63rd an­nual Cana­dian Ju­nior Girls Golf Cham­pi­onship at an of­ten-try­ing Camelot Golf and Coun­try Club.

The only thing that slowed Xiao down was the sound of a horn or­der­ing play­ers from the course with the ap­proach of a storm and that was just as she and her play­ing part­ners ap­proached the 18th tee.

Thirty min­utes of a frus­trat­ing weather de­lay and a 10-foot putt for quick par four on the 18th later, Xiao was Queen of both age groups in Cana­dian golf and had an au­to­matic ex­emp­tion in to the 2018 Cana­dian Am­a­teur Women’s Golf Cham­pi­onship at Ma­rina Drive Golf Club in Van­cou­ver, which will be an easy daily com­mute com­pared to Cum­ber­land.

Xiao’s fi­nal round at three un­der left her five un­der for the tour­na­ment and the only player to break par.

Lon­don’s El­lie Sz­eryk and Mary Par­sons, of Delta, B.C., tied for sec­ond at ever-par 288 with Par­sons and Rich­mond Hill’s Tiana Cruz the only other golfers to play the fi­nal round un­der par.

The cham­pion was a model of con­sis­tency with rounds of 70-73-71-69 and put the win away al­most mat­ter-of­factly with a string of birdies on holes 11, 12 and 13.

How con­sis­tent is con­sec­u­tive rounds of twounder, one-over, one­un­der and three-un­der?

Xiao rarely showed any emo­tion un­til it came time to make a cham­pion’s speech and en­dure in­ter­view af­ter­wards.

The speech and in­ter­views could’ve hap­pen quickly enough.

The only frus­trat­ing part of her day was the de­lay.

“I was like can’t we just fin- Su­san Xiao cel­e­brates her birdie putt on the sec­ond hole dur­ing the fi­nal round of the Cana­dian Ju­nior Girls Cham­pi­onship held at Camelot Golf Course in Ot­tawa. ish,” said Xiao, who heard the horn as she was push­ing her cart away from No. 17 to the 18th tee. “But words can’t de­scribe how happy I am.

“I never thought of win­ning this tour­na­ment this year. I would have been happy with a top-10 fin­ish.

“But I thought about the start of the back nine I had it. I knew I had a good lead and I just stuck with my own game.”

Xiao’s own game is never try­ing to do the im­pos­si­ble. She keeps things sim­ple and keeps things clean.

“Down the fair­way and onto the green,” said play­ing part­ner El­lie Sz­eryk, who started the day a stroke be­hind the win­ner. “That’s how she does it.”

JEAN LEVAC/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

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