FSJ's Kirby Dreher off to the Canadian Women's Open

Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C. outlasted the field Tuesday to claim top honours and an exemption into the Canadian Women’s Open.

Dreher, a 21 year-old amateur who attends Kent State University, started the day 4 strokes ahead of the pack in the final event on the Canadian Women’s Tour, but shot a 4 over par 76 to edge out the field and complete the amateur sweep of the women’s tour season.

Struggling down the stretch at Camelot Golf and Country Club, Dreher’s scorecard included five birdies, seven bogeys and a double bogey with most of the damage happening on the back nine. She sat at 1 under par heading into Tueday’s final holes, but made a double bogey on the 11th to momentarily sit tied with Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que.

Despite regularly getting into trouble off the tee, Dreher persevered by hitting a number of miraculous recovery shots which lead to a birdie on the 12th and an incredible par on 14. "I was in some pretty deep trouble on 14," said an elated Dreher. "I hit my tee shot into the trees in the middle of the split fairway and hit an incredible punch shot to 15 feet which helped me to save par."

Dreher edged out Corina Kelepouris of Drayton Valley, Alta., Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., and Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que. by a single stroke. In addition, four more exemptions were awarded thanks to spots made available through the Canadian Women’s Tour Order of Merit final standings.

The 2008 Order of Merit standings were lead all year by Sue Kim, who finished with 1487.5 points to round out her dominant year on tour.

Earning Order of Merit exemptions into this year’s Canadian Women’s Open are Corina Kelepouris of Drayton Valley, Alta., with 845 points, Seema Sadekar of Toronto with 832.5 points, Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., with 725 points and Jessica Carafiello of Coral Springs, Fla., with 712.5. (courtesy of the CP)