Jenna Roadley completed her long, but steady, climb to the top of junior women’s golf in Manitoba with a victory last week that made the British Open look like a nail-biter.
While little-known South African Louis Oosthuizen won golf’s oldest major by a decisive seven strokes, Roadley ran away from the rest of the field, capturing her first Manitoba Women’s Junior Championship by 14 shots.
The 16-year-old St. James resident finished at a 10-over-par total of 225. Next best was Bri-Ann Tokariwski at 239, followed by Nicole McGlenen at 249.
After finishing with a share of third place in 2008 and in a second-place tie last year, Roadley came into the event with only one thing in mind.
“I just really wanted to win,” said the Sturgeon Heights Collegiate student, shortly after greeting her parents and sister with a hug behind the 18th green at Niakwa Country Club.
Roadley entered Friday’s final round with an 11-shot lead over Tokariwski. She admitted it was a challenge to stay focused knowing that nothing short of running out of golf balls would keep her from victory.
“I suppose I did lose a bit of my edge for a while,” she said after signing for a 4-over 76. “But I kept telling myself I was two shots back and I needed to get it back here.”
When asked what has made her a better player this year, Roadley didn’t talk about her golf swing or her putting stroke. She talked about her mindset on the course and her ability to quickly forget about bad shots.
“I’m a lot more mature now,” she said. “I make better decisions on the course. I’m just a better person in general. I’m much better at bouncing back from a bogey.”
Roadley’s father, Mike, said his daughter now shows up at an event believing, rather than hoping, she’ll play well.
“She’s mentally tougher,” he said. “And she works very hard at it.”
Since she joined Glendale, Roadley has been working hard on her game with pros Tim Tabor and Jim Steep.
“They’ve made the game fun for her,” Mike Roadley said. “We live close by, and she spends a lot of time there. We told her, ‘We’ll take you, and if you want to make the effort, you should go full tilt.’”
Roadley will soon see how her game stacks up against the best juniors in Canada. Along with Tokariwski, McGlenen and fourth-place finisher Dana Todd, she’ll represent Manitoba at the 2010 Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls Championship in early August in Camlachie, Ont.
“I’d like to finish in the top 30 or top 25,” she said. “That would be a great finish this year.”
Roadley hopes to start posting some good results in national events, which could eventually lead to a U.S. college scholarship.
Meanwhile, a playoff was needed to decide the junior men’s champion. Aaron Cockerill beat Myles Sullivan on the first sudden-death hole to take the trophy. Joining them on the provincial team will be Bryce Barr and Alex Crawford.