July 24th, 2024

Szeryk, Rivers qualify for CPKC Women’s Open after turning pro at B.C. Women’s Open

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on June 26, 2024.

Sisters; Maddie Szeryk, left, and Ellie Szeryk, of Canada, walk together on the first hole while paired together during the first round at the LPGA CPKC Canadian Women's Open golf tournament, in Vancouver, on Thursday, August 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

As Ellie Szeryk lined up her final putt to seal the win at the B.C. Women’s Open, she spied longtime friend Brooke Rivers lurking around the green with a bottle of water.

Sure enough, when Szeryk made the putt, the chase was on with Rivers trying to douse her with water.

“I ran as far as I could, but she still got me quite good,” Szeryk said with a laugh. “But it was fun. In golf you usually do that to your really good friends when they win.

“So it was really sweet that she did that. It’s like an unspoken honour.”

Szeryk beat Rivers by four strokes at Pitt Meadows Golf Club on Sunday in their professional debuts. Both golfers also earned berths at the CPKC Women’s Open, July 25-28 at Calgary’s Earl Grey Golf Club.

“It was just really nice to be able to have followed through on something that I had been thinking about,” said Szeryk. “It’s not always easy to golf. It’s just three rounds and you have no idea what the course is like and how it’s going to play.”

Earning their way into the national women’s championship, rather than relying on a sponsor’s exemption, was a relief to both players.

“I knew that there’d be a good opportunity for that,” said Szeryk, from London, Ont. “It’s been on my mind the last couple of months, like since I signed up.

“I knew I needed to make sure I had my game right so I could take advantage of it because I knew that they weren’t going to be a lot of sponsored exemptions for this Canadian Open.”

Rivers agreed.

“It does feel really good to earn the exemption spot on my own through good play,” said Rivers, from Brampton, Ont. “It also feels a little more rewarding while being there because you feel like you had done everything in order to put yourself there.”

Rivers added with a laugh: “It’s a little bit easier when booking travel that you don’t have to do it the week before.”

Both Szeryk and Rivers turned pro after the conclusion of the NCAA golf season. They’re both spending time with family and practising before the ORORO PGA Women’s Championship of Canada tees off at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont., on July 2.

“I’m really excited to turn pro, and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” said Rivers, who played one season at Wake Forest University. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole life.

“I just felt that I was in a position where I was ready to turn pro and I was ready to start competing.”

Golf Canada announced the early commitments to the 50th playing of the Women’s Open on Monday, with eight of the current top-10 and 83 of the top-100 players on the Race to the CME Globe Standings entered in the national women’s championship.

The 156-player field will be competing at Earl Grey Golf Club for the first time in tournament history. It will be the seventh time that Alberta hosts the Women’s Open and first time since 2016.

LPGA TOUR – Hamilton’s Alena Sharp is in the Dow Championship three days after making Canada’s Olympic golf team for a third time. Maddie Szeryk, Ellie’s older sister, just missed out on beating Sharp to the Olympics by 1.41 points in the women’s world golf rankings. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., No. 14 in the world, is also in the field at the Midland Country Club in Midland, Mich. They will be joined by Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ont., and amateur Vanessa Borovilos of Toronto.

EPSON TOUR – Brigitte Thibault of Rosemere, Que., is the top-ranked Canadian playing in the Dream First Bank Charity Classic. She’s 120th on the second-tier Epson Tour’s points list. She’ll be joined at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kan., by Vancouver’s Leah John (160th), as well as Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., and Kate Johnston of Ayr, Ont., who are unranked.

PGA TOUR – Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., is the top ranked Canadian at No. 30 on the FedEx Cup standings. He will be in the field at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club, where he finished tied for second in 2022. Adam Svensson (76th) of Surrey, B.C., Ben Silverman (113th) of Thornhill, Ont., and Roger Sloan (194th) of Merritt, B.C., are also in the field.

KORN FERRY TOUR – Myles Creighton of Digby, N.S., is No. 23 on the Tour’s points list heading into the Memorial Health Championship. Edmonton’s Wil Bateman (33rd), Etienne Papineau (50th) of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., Sudarshan Yellamaraju (100th) of Mississauga, Ont., and Jared du Toit (118th) of Kimberley, B.C., are also in the field at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill.

CHAMPIONS TOUR – Calgary’s Stephen Ames leads the Canadian contingent into the U.S. Senior Open Championship. He’s No. 1 on the Charles Schwab Cup money list with two victories so far this year. Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., is 25th on the list and also in the field at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I. David Morland IV of Aurora, Ont., is also playing the event.

AMERICAS TOUR – Matthew Anderson of Mississauga, Ont., remains the atop the points list of the third-tier Americas Tour heading into this week’s ATB Classic. He’s one of 18 Canadians playing Northern Bear Golf Club in Strathcona County, Alta.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2024.

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