Celeste Dao wanted her first appearance at the CP Women & # 39; s Open as an experience she will always remember.
Her first hole at the Wascana Country Club on Thursday was one she will probably never forget.
Fighting nerves in her tournament debut, the 17-year-old development squadron almost sent her opening ride beyond the limits. Faced with a terrible lie under low-hanging tree branches, she blew at her second shot and later found the rough and bunker before settling for a double-bogey six.
But when he showed remarkable courage for a youngster who was not used to playing on the LPGA Tour, Dao reacted with a bird at the second hole.
"I turned the page," Dao said. "I was ready to copy birds."
Dao bogeyed the seventh hole and had three birdies in the background nine for a solid 1-under-par 71.
"Being patient – that's my big thing to play well," she said. "I knew from the back that par fies and par fours were waiting for me."
Dao, from Notre-Dame-de-Ile-Perrot, Que., Is considered one of the best young prospects of Canada. She won her first international title at the Mexican Junior Girls Championship 2018 and also qualified to play in the US Women & # 39; s Open.
Dao uses a slow backswing and comes down to the ball with a seemingly effortless move. Her sharp ball and impressive short game were on Thursday and she will make a good guess to make the cut if she persists in the second round.
"All skills are there," said the junior coach of Women & # 39; s Coach Matt Wilson. & # 39; She just has to keep on chipping. The more experience and exposure she can get at the best possible competition, the better it is for Celeste. "
Dao, one of the 16 Canadians in the field, was seven shots behind the co-leaders of the clubhouse, the Colombian Mariajo Uribe and Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand.
Maude-Aimée LeBlanc from Sherbrooke was the low Canadian in the beginning of 2-under-70. Alena Sharp from Hamilton joined Dao on 71 while amateur Ellie Szeryk from London, Ont., Was on level 72.
Elizabeth Tong of Thornhill, Ont., Had a 73 and Augusta James or Bath, Ont., Was at 74. Megan Osland of Kelowna, B.C., shot a 75 and Saskatoon native Bobbi Brandon had a 83.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., Was one of several Canadian players with middle times. Jocelyne Bourassa was the last Canadian to win this tournament, the title of 1973 in Montreal.
Dao also said that during the Ladies British Open Amateur last week in Northern Ireland she had made a shot in the glider.
This time the ball went under a big pine tree. She had to use a five-wood because her irons were not long enough to avoid the overhanging branches.
After the miss, her third shot found the long grass and the fourth shot landed in the sand. Dao managed to achieve a nice save and hit the short putt.
She drank some water and quickly concentrated on the second hole and forgot about her opening battle. Wilson said that Dao knows she is fully capable of recovering and setting aside a rough hole.
"It is not common in teenagers, especially when they are likely to panic, especially in that situation," he said. "But again, she is a very resilient child and just hypercompetitive."
The game continues until Sunday during the US $ 2.25 million event.