By SEAN ROONEY on July 12, 2019.
EDIT: The original story stated Becky was first person regardless of gender from Medicine Hat to win an Alberta Amateur. Don Graham won men’s amateur twice in the 1970’s. Apologies for getting wires crossed with Kelly Risling, who thought we were just asking about women’s.
Leslie Martin had been down enough fairways to know this one was special.
The mother of 26-year-old Becky Martin remembers when her daughter first showed signs of being a unique golfer, blasting drives and showing poise few others could match.
She also knew about the pain Becky faced dealing with horrible nerve problems, multiple surgeries unable to totally fix them.
So as Becky walked up to the 18th green Thursday at The Ranch Golf and Country Club just west of Edmonton – with a seven-shot lead on the final day of the Alberta Ladies Amateur Championship – her caddy for the week couldn’t help but get a little emotional.
“Amazing,” she said following Becky’s 4-under 67, which finished her at 1-over for the event. “We’ve contended so many times, been on the team so many times, but second or third and now we’re No. 1.
“It was absolutely wonderful, there was a little tear in my eye.”
Becky is the first woman from Medicine Hat to win an Alberta amateur title.
The champ herself was amazed to learn of it. And she was happy to have her mom on the bag for what is arguably the most important win of her career so far.
“She’s been at every tournament, I could probably count on one hand – other than my university tournaments in the United States – the amount of tournaments she’s missed,” said Becky. “It’s special; I’m glad she was there.”
Tied with Calgarians MacKenzie Baustad and Taylor Stone for the lead through 36 holes, but with nine other players within four shots, Martin started the final 18 holes with a bang. She birdied the par-5 second hole, then the par-4 fourth that she’d double-bogeyed on Wednesday.
The lead was already six shots through nine holes, and grew to nine until a bogey on the 16th. It was the only misstep on the day for the Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club member.
“I birdied the second hole and noticed the other players I was playing with getting a little bit nervous, I think,” she said. “So I was thinking OK, I have some stuff that I can pull from that not everyone else has.”
The win automatically qualifies her for the Canadian Women’s Amateur, July 23-26 at Red Deer Golf and Country Club. She’s been to nationals before but has traditionally avoided the 72-hole event because her nerve issues get worse as the week wears on. She didn’t even play a practice round this week, knowing her body wouldn’t take kindly to an extra 18 holes.
“It was exactly what I expected,” said Martin. “I don’t want to sound like a sad whiner but I was in pain the whole time, I get pretty intense neck aches and my arms kind of sting.
“As long as my swing’s decent enough I can control it.”
Martin also claimed the mid-amateur title which is only for women 25 years or older. Edmonton’s Kylie Barros shot a 2-over 73 to finish 8-over for the week, second in both events. Rounding out the full 41-player amateur event, Baustad shot 4-over to finish at plus-9 and take the third and final spot on Alberta’s team for nationals.
Martin, who played NCAA golf for three seasons before injury problems ended her career south of the border, went on to play the far shorter Canadian college seasons with her hometown Medicine Hat College Rattlers, winning the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference title twice and taking third at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association finals once. She helped the Rattlers women’s team to a silver medal at nationals on their home course this past fall.
She was named Rattlers female athlete of the year this spring after finishing her last season at the college level.
But winning the top amateur tournament in the province? That’s a big next step and one she’s ready to embrace.
Said Martin: “I had a wonderful day.”
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