Record Round Propels Chelsea Truong To B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship

Chelsea Truong Is The 2023 BC Women's Amateur Champion - Images Credit Brad Ziemer/BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

(June 23, 2023) COBBLE HILL - Chelsea Truong needed to play the round of her life and it didn’t start particularly well. The 17-year-old from Victoria opened her final round of the 118th B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship with a bogey.

Considering she started the final day at Arbutus Ridge Golf Club seven shots back of the lead, it would have been easy for Truong to hang her head and concede that this wasn’t going to be her week. But Truong isn’t wired that way. The words give up are not in her vocabulary.  There was lots of golf left, she told herself, and as it turns out it would be some very special golf.

Truong played bogey-free golf the rest of the way and shot a course record five-under 67 to win the tournament by one shot.

“I just tried to put that early bogey in the past and focus on each shot because there was still lots of golf left,” Truong said. “I had been close all week to the point where I wanted to get my game and today it just clicked.”

It clicked in a big way. After saving par with a clutch nine-foot putt on the par 4 fifth hole, Truong rattled off three straight birdies to get her round rolling. She added three more birdies on the back nine, including a tap-in birdie on the par 5 18th that proved to be the difference.

It is Truong’s first provincial championship after some close calls at juvenile and bantam events. That it came so close to home made it even more special for Truong, who just completed Grade 11 at Oak Bay Secondary. “This means a lot,” Truong said. “And also it coming on the Island is amazing. I have come second the last three years at juvenile and bantam (provincials), so it’s nice to finally break through.”

Truong made a point of not checking the scoreboard, so she had no idea where she stood the last few holes. She credited her friend and caddie, Josh Bowder, with helping to keep her calm. “Josh knew where I stood, but made the good decision not to tell me,” she said. “I just wanted to stay present in the moment.”

Bowder joked that he was more nervous than Truong. “She was super confident,” he said. “I was trying to keep myself calm. We were just doing everything we had been doing all week, like she said, staying in the moment, disconnecting from the golf shots in between and talking about fun stuff and friends we were going to see on the weekend. We were just having fun. It was really good to be a part of it and I am super proud of her.”

Image Credit Shayain Gustavsp/British Columbia Golf

BC's Team For The Canadian Women's Amateur L-R: Jenifer Gu, Chelsea Truong & Rebecca Kim

Truong edged West Vancouver’s Jennifer Gu by a single shot. Gu began the day with a three-shot lead and had a five-shot cushion after nine holes. But she double-bogeyed both of the par 3s on the back nine and lost her rhythm. “I had a couple of bad swings and I just kind of messed around on the greens,” said Gu, a former B.C. Junior Girls champion who plays her collegiate golf at Kent State University in Ohio.

With Truong having completed her round and posted four-over for the 72-hole event, Gu had a chance force a playoff with a birdie on 18 but missed her attempt from about 15 feet. “It’s golf and this stuff happens,” Gu said. “I came second at Summerland (in the 2021 B.C. Women’s Amateur) and I was in contention last year. I am knocking on the door. I’ll be back next year.”

Gu was one of the first to congratulate Truong, dousing her with a bottle of water. Truong, who has verbally committed to playing her collegiate golf at the University of New Mexico, has literally grown up playing Victoria Golf Club.

Longtime VGC member Jackie Hellard, who raced to Arbutus Ridge when she saw that Truong was going low, has been one of a handful of mentors who have supported Truong along the way. “I was actually introduced to Chelsea through Penny Baziuk,” Hellard said.

“I played out of Victoria and Penny was like, 'You have got to meet Chelsea.’ From that point on I started playing golf with Chelsea three or four days a week. We would play after school. No. 8 at Victoria is 100 yards and when we started Chelsea had to hit a wood because she was so little at the time. It’s been fun to watch her progress. She works really hard at it, she loves it and is passionate about it and I am really happy for her. She is a fantastic person. Her whole family is first-class.”

Truong said there is no way she would have been hoisting that championship trophy without the help and encouragement she received along the way. “Penny and Jackie have been been so great,” she said. Those two have been an incredible help to me and Josh’s mom, too, Sarah. They have been a wonderful supporting group of people to have.”

Surrey’s Rebecca Kim closed with a one-under 71 to finish third at six-over par. Truong, Gu and Kim will represent B.C. in the provincial team competition at the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, which goes Aug. 1-4 at Ashburn Golf Club in Halifax.

Ha Young Chang of Surrey, Cadence Ko of Richmond and Meera Minhas of Burnaby tied for fourth at nine-over par. Chang and Nanoose Bay’s Shelly Stouffer won the two-player better-ball competition with a score of 13-under par. That was two shots better than the team of Rebecca Kim and Dana Smith of Campbell River.

Click HERE for complete final scoring.

CHIP SHOTS: A 36-hole zone competition was won by the Zone 3 team of Rebecca Kim and Ha Young Chang. Their two-round total of 11-over par was five shots better than the second-place Zone 2 team of Natasha Kozlowski of Vernon and Kayleigh Trowman of Summerland. . .The 2024 B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship is scheduled to be played at Balfour Golf Course.