Alisha Lau’s Comeback Starts With Impressive Round

Richmond's Alisha Lau, A Former B.C. Junior Girls Champion, Leads The B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship By Three Shots After The First Round - Image Credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Alisha Lau did not quite know what to expect at the B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship, her first significant golf tournament in more than a year. Needless to say she was delighted how things turned out on day one. Lau fired a two-under 70 Tuesday at Nanaimo Golf Club and carries a three-shot lead into Wednesday’s second round.

The 19-year-old Lau has been on the sidelines with a right wrist injury since last summer and eventually had surgery last fall. She sat out her sophomore year at the University of Colorado as a medical redshirt. After a long recovery, which required lots of patience, Lau is happy to be back playing the game she loves.

“This is my first big tournament in over a year so I didn’t really have any expectations,” she said after Tuesday’s round. “I am pretty happy with today’s round, for sure.”

Lau is seeking her second provincial title. She won the B.C. Junior Girls Championship by 10 shots at the Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear Course in 2017. Her round Tuesday at Nanaimo Golf Club, a course she had not seen until Monday’s practice round, included four birdies and two bogeys. She learned quickly about Nanaimo’s tricky greens.

“The greens here are fairly difficult,” Lau said. “They are pretty slopey. I found that I would read a putt, get over it and then think this is going to break a little more than the way I originally read it. My putting was good today. I hit a couple of really good iron shots that gave me opportunities, but my putting was the highlight of my round today.”

Vancouver’s Leah John, Shania Remandaban of Coquitlam and West Vancouver’s Phoebe Yue share second place after all three opened with one-over 73s. Angel Lin of Surrey shot a two-over 74 and is alone in fifth place. Defending champion Mary Parsons of Delta had a tough end to her day. Parsons made a quadruple-bogey eight on the 18th hole and shot an eight-over 80. She enters the second round tied for 21st place.

Although encouraged by her start, Lau said she won’t let herself get too excited. “There is still a lot of golf to play,” she said. “I need to keep making smart decisions around the golf course and obviously keep it pretty tight around the greens and all that kind of stuff. It looks like putting is going to be a big factor this week.”

Lau was just finishing up her freshman year at Colorado when she suffered her injury. The timing could not have been worse. She felt she was just getting comfortable with her new life as a collegiate golfer. “I was just starting to play pretty well and then I got injured,” she said. “It was frustrating because I finally felt like I was figuring it out.”

Lau set a Colorado record as a freshman by playing in 37 rounds. She said her coaches and teammates have been a huge help in her recovery. “I began hitting balls in February,” she said. “It has been a long road to recovery. My coaches at school have really supported me. They have told me to stay patient and told me it was going to be a lot of hard work before things are going to be where I was before I had the surgery. I just wanted to play well this week, have fun and just get some tournament experience before school starts.”

The top three players after Friday’s final round will represent British Columbia in an inter-provincial team competition at the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, which goes July 23-26 at Red Deer Golf & Country Club in Alberta.

 The B.C. Women’s Amateur also includes a two-player best-ball competition. The team of Yue and Parsons lead after the first round with a score of three-under.

The field will be cut to the low 25 players and ties following Wednesday’s second round.

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