Final Hole Heroics Seal Dramatic Win For Kylie Jack In B.C. Indigenous Championship

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

She began the final round four shots back and as Kylie Jack contemplated the challenge ahead of her, she thought of words her mom had drilled into as a junior golfer.

“I had 18 holes and 18 chances,” Jack said. “You never know. My mom always told me anything can happen in golf.”

Turns out, her mom was right, anything can happen and sometimes it happens in a most dramatic fashion.

After battling first-round leader Christina Spence Proteau all day and pulling ahead by a single shot, Jack drained one of the biggest putts of her life, an uphill, 30-footer that saved her par on the 18th green and won Jack the B.C. Indigenous Championship at University Golf Club in Vancouver.

“I definitely knew how things stood,” Jack said. “I was telling myself, I have to make it, I have to make it. I hadn’t made a putt that long all the whole tournament so I figured that would be nice.”

It was even nicer that her mom, Sharon, who was also competing in the tournament, was standing beside the 18th green and watched, and then celebrated, as her daughter’s putt fell into the hole. The two shared an emotional embrace as Jack walked to the scoring table.

“This means a lot to me,” said Jack, a member of the Penticton Indian band. “It was such a cool first event at Nk’Mip (in Oliver) last year and this year with the tournament on the Musqueam territory it feels really special. I am thinking about my communities and my family and I was thinking about the Musqueam people and this beautiful golf course. I am really happy.”

Jack has lots to celebrate these days. She recently graduated from the University of Victoria’s Indigenous law program. She will write her bar exam this fall and begin articling with the federal Department of Justice in Vancouver. Before attending UVic, Jack completed her undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University, where she played on the women’s golf team.

The rigours of law school prevented Jack from playing much golf over the past couple of years, but she has not lost her competitive fire. “I feel like anytime someone comes to a tournament they hope to win and I seem to play a lot better when I am in a competitive environment,” she said. “When I am just playing for fun, I’m not that great.”

Jack finished the 36-hole event at 12-over par after closing with a five-over 76. She grabbed the lead for good at the par 3 16th hole, where Spence Proteau got into trouble and made a triple-bogey.

Jack made a clutch up-and-down for par on the 17th hole and then closed it out on 18 with her near-miracle par. Her drive on the final hole ended up under a tree and she had no choice but to chip back out to the fairway. Her wedge landed 30 feet under the hole and it looked like she and Spence Proteau would be heading to a playoff.

“I was under the trees a few times today,” Jack said. “I didn’t try to play any hero shots. I just chipped it out and tried to make an up and down. I was like, 'just take your medicine.'”

This was the second B.C. Indigenous Championship and in last year’s inaugural event, Jack finished second, 14 shots behind Spence Proteau, who has compiled an impressive amateur golf resumé filled with provincial and national titles.

While Spence Proteau was frustrated to lose her lead and lamented the mess she made of the 16th hole, she was the epitome of class in her post-round comments. “How are you not thrilled for a young lady who is going to be a lawyer,” said Spence Proteau, a Crown prosecutor in her hometown of Port Alberni. “It’s just lovely and I think it’s great for the tournament.”

Hayley Geremia of Langley finished third at 35-over par.

The net Stableford competition was won by Cherie Williams of Victoria. Erin Duhaime of Victoria was second and Sharon Jack of Westbank and Gloria Morgan of Enderby shared third.

Click HERE for complete final scoring.