Thursday, October 30th, 2008
The Burin Peninsula will be well represented at two national golf championships for female golfers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the days ahead.
Marystown native Lacy Cribb, a former junior player from the Grande Meadows Golf Club in Frenchman’s Cove now playing out of Glendenning in St. John’s, will lead the Newfoundland and Labrador Golf Association’s (NLGA) Amateur Team. That squad will play at the Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, which gets underway today at Elmhurst Golf and Country Club in the Manitoban capital, wrapping up this Friday.
Joining her on the team is Erin Lundrigan of Burin, who is a current junior golfer at Grande Meadows. The two young women placed first and second respectively at the NLGA’s Ladies Amateur Championship Team Trials at Bally Haly two weeks ago.
Lundrigan’s finish made her the first junior member to ever qualify for the provincial women’s amateur team.
Kanani Penashue, formerly of the Amaruk Golf Club in Goose Bay, Labrador also playing out of Glendenning, and Clair Belanger of Clovelly Golf Club, round out the final two members of the team.
It won’t be the only golf Lundrigan plays while in Winnipeg.
Earlier this month, she captured her second consecutive NLGA Junior Girls Championship in Grand Falls-Windsor, beating her nearest competitor fellow Grande Meadows club member Catherine Kenway of Winterland by 26 strokes.
Both golfers earned the right to represent the province – along with Taylor Marsh of Gander and Danielle O’Conner of Corner Brook’s Blomidon Golf Club – at the Royale Canadian Junior Girls Championship, which takes place at Winnipeg’s St. Charles Country Club Aug. 5-8.
Lundrigan, who is 17 years old, and will enter Level 3 at Marystown Central High School this fall, was pleased by her play at the junior championship.
“I was pretty consistent. I felt like I played pretty well … I had a confident lead going into the last round.”
Lundrigan indicated she has been playing the game for the past five or six years, getting her start in the junior program at Grande Meadows. She played her way – to her own surprise – on to the provincial junior team for the first time back in 2005, and made the team again the following year. Last year, she decided to step up her game, practicing more.
“The first year I made the team I went into St. John’s, and I wasn’t expecting to make it at all.
“I was young and I didn’t realize that I could play well enough to make the team. Then the next year I made the team again and I started to realize this is something I really enjoy and really want to succeed at.”
Lundrigan acknowledged becoming the first female junior player to make the amateur team was an honour.
“Golf history, as they say … so, I’m pretty happy with that.”
Lundrigan credited NLGA provincial junior coach Jim Stick with helping her improve her game.
“He’s a big part of where I am now … he does a lot.”
Stick, who has worked with her for the past three years, offered glowing praise of the young golfer and her game.
“She’s a very, very talented girl, but not only that she’s very dedicated. She has goals put in her head that she wants to accomplish, and then she’s striving to reach them and working very hard at it.”
Lundrigan revealed one of those goals is making the provincial women’s team, which will compete at next year’s Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island.
Stick indicated Lundrigan’s strength is her long game.
“She needs a bit of improvement on her short game, but over and above, she’s got a great head for the game. She plays very conservative and plays the game of golf the way it should be.”
He suggested her spot on the amateur team is well deserved.
“She’s that good a golfer that she’s going to be representing this province for an awful long time, I think.”
MAKE THE CUT
Cribb returned to the provincial golf scene this year after a two-year stint in the United States, at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, which she attended on an athletic scholarship.
Prior to that, she came up through the ranks, competing on the national stage, at both the junior and amateur levels, on a number of occasions.
Cribb was second overall to Jan Peters at the provincial Ladies Championship, the second time she has finished in the position.
The 24-year-old has been playing golf since her father, Ches, got her into the sport when Grande Meadows first opened in 1996. She knows what to expect from the other golfers and has set a goal to make the cut, which means the team needs to be in the top 70 after two days.
“It’s tough competition. You’re up against a lot of girls who train all year round. They live and breath golf all year round.
“So, it’s a little hard to contend, but we do. I think we’re able to show our best. I think people are usually surprised how well we do play up there, considering we’re the ones that get the lack of coaching.”
Cribb and Lundrigan are among a number of young female golfers to emerge from Grande Meadows.
Along with Kenway, two other young women from the club, Deanna Moulton and Heather Drake placed in the top 10 at the NLGA Junior Girls Championship. As well, Brittany Cluett of Garnish is a past provincial junior champ.
Lundrigan indicated Grande Meadows has been very supportive and pointed to the junior program there.
“I just had fun in that program and just kind of kept working at it until I decided that I wanted to play competitively.”
“I’d have to say Grande Meadows has a great junior program there … it’s just a well constructed program and they’ve had some good helpers there.
“The course itself helps you a lot because it’s very narrow. You have to learn how to hit a straight ball.”
Stick indicated the junior program in Newfoundland and Labrador is doing well overall.
“On a whole in the province, the numbers are a bit down, but the golfers are getting better.