Deep into the 66th Canadian Junior Girls Championship in Leduc, Alberta, victory was but a formality for Nicole Gal. The youngster from Oakville, Ontario, a year removed from missing the cut, put on a dominant performance to win the tournament by a stunning twelve-stroke margin.
Gal, a member of the Team Canada Junior Squad, capped her week with a 67 that was free of blemishes, leaving her at -13 for the four round event, trailed most closely by her Canadian teammate, Oakville Golf Club fellow member, and friend, Katie Cranston, who finished at -1.
“I also was lucky to play with my best friend so, we kept each other smiling and I think that was a big factor for today,” Gal said on playing with Cranston.
As mentioned, the double win was a little vindication for Gal who struggled in the championship in 2020 but put in a lot of effort with her personal coach, Ann Carroll, and her team Canada coach, Jennifer Greggain, to turn her fortunes around.
“It’s unreal. Especially because the last Canadian Juniors, I missed the cut,” said Gal, 16, who completed the double and also won the Juvenile division. “So, I’m really proud of myself for all the hard work I’ve put in the last couple of years to be standing here where I am.”
Gal proved her abilities with round of (71-69-68-67) and led the field by three at the end of the second round. By the completion of 54-holes, Gal had extended her lead to five strokes after a bogey-free third round.
By the time Gal and the final group reached the turn on Friday, Gal had extended her lead to eight strokes over Cranston and would go on to card a second consecutive bogey-free round.
This year’s Canadian Junior Girls Championship began with a 106-player field that included three of the Team Canada National Junior Squad members including Gal, Cranston, and Jennifer Gu of West Vancouver, B.C., who held the 18-hole lead and ultimately finished in a tie for eighth.
The field’s youngest competitor, 11-year-old Lucy Lin, finished in a tie for 12th at 12 over.
With the win Gal receives an exemption into the 2021 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship held July 27-30 at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club in Spruce Grove, Alta.
“It’s the first time I’m playing that event, so I don’t have many expectations yet,” said Gal on the Women’s Amateur. “But if I just take it day by day, I think I will finish pretty well there as well.”
Gal joins a list of notable Canadian golfers to have won the Canadian Junior Girls Championship including LPGA Tour players and Olympians Brooke Henderson (2012) and Alena Sharp (1999), as well as Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Sandra Post (1964-66).
Full results can be found here.