Playing in her first national tournament, local golfer Carol Livingston admitted to battling a case of nerves at last week’s Canadian senior ladies’ golf championship in Calgary.
Those nerves prompted the Kitchen Creek member to open the tournament Tuesday with five straight sixes en route to a first-round score of 87.
With her Manitoba teammates, Jo-Ann Lindsay and Judy Lang, firing scores of 74 and 84 respectively, Livingston admitted she felt the pressure of having the worst round of the trio on the first day.
“I was so nervous being at the nationals for the first time that I didn’t want to let my team down,” said Livingston, 55, noting past national tournaments featured four-player teams, with the low score from each foursome discarded each day.
"I didn’t realize the pressure would affect me as much as it did, especially on the first five holes when I shot straight sixes.
“And those holes weren’t par sixes, either,” she joked.
But Livingston said her teammates helped settle her down by the 10th hole, offering words of encouragement and telling her to “relax and enjoy” the fact she was playing at the national level.
“All the Manitoba ladies were very nice ladies and they all made me feel welcome,” said Livingston, who earned a berth at the tournament by placing third at the provincials in Carman in July.
And despite her slow start, the Manitoba squad finished the 36-hole tournament with the top net score, teaming up to card a two-day total of 452—one stroke better than Ontario and three ahead of Quebec.
The trio also placed third in gross score in the 10-team tournament with a 490, well behind Alberta (474) and Ontario (481).
Lindsay, the top Manitoba seed, placed fifth in the individual portion of the tournament, carding a three-round total of 230, just six strokes back of American Nancy Fitzgerald.
Livingston said the 5,819-yard Earl Grey Golf Club was a “tough course” that played even tougher for most of the ladies, many of whom had only played one or two practice rounds there prior to the tournament.
“It had a lot of hills and valleys and a man-made reservoir that ran along a lot of the holes, and it had a lot of bunkers,” recalled Livingston, who carded scores of 86 and 89 on the final two days.
“The greens had a lot of humps and bumps, unlike here where they are flat and predictable," she added. "But the people setting up the course could have been a lot meaner [with pin placements].”
And Livingston noted she did have a few highlights during the tournament, including sinking a long putt on the par-three, 131-yard seventh hole for birdie on the first day.
Another came when she holed her bunker shot for birdie on the 485-yard, par-five 14th in the final round last Thursday.