Teen wins Women’s City and District Championship
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Cala Korman had nearly forgotten what it felt like to taste victory.
It was almost two years to the day since the Killarney teen last raised a trophy, and it wasn’t until she tallied her final score on Sunday afternoon that she realized the monkey was finally off her back.
Korman, 16, took home the Women’s City and District Championship this weekend, held at La Broquerie Golf Course, scoring 153 to prevail over a pair of past champions in the final group.
She shared the tee with three-time winner Charmaine Mackid, 45, and Jill Hardy, 41, a two-time champ.
Having the least experience of the trio wasn’t on Korman’s mind entering Sunday, trailing by two strokes, in one of the province’s most prestigious tournaments.
“Honestly, I didn’t think about that much,” she said via phone Monday afternoon. “I’ve played with these ladies before. It’s always nice playing with them.”
Korman shot a rock-solid 77 on Saturday, thanks to a two-birdie, one-under back nine. She calmly followed that up on Sunday with one birdie and 13 pars to shoot 76 and seal the deal by three strokes.
The win was Korman’s first since 2020, when she won the Manitoba Junior Bantam Championship as a 14-year-old.
“To win this was good and it just feels good going into other tournaments. That gives me some confidence,” she said.
“I was just proud of myself that I had two solid rounds and kept it together.”
As is the case in golf, the title didn’t come without the teen battling adversity at points in her Sunday round.
A gusting wind left Korman with numerous long irons into greens. Even then, she knew she was “in a good spot” after the front nine, which saw her go out with 37.
Korman said her second shot on the fifth hole set the tone for the rest of her round.
An unfortunate tee shot that leaked into the left rough stuck Korman with a five iron into the small green. She bounced back by flushing her second shot over a couple of trees, the ball settling 10 feet from the hole.
“That gave me the confidence for the rest of the round that I knew I could hit those long irons even if it was a tough shot,” she said.
Korman admitted she thought she was lower in the standings than she actually was while on the back nine.
A double-bogey on the 13th hole followed by a bogey on the 15th clouded her perception even more, but Korman finished her round strong with three-straight pars.
“I thought the other girls were doing better. So I actually didn’t know I had won until it was done.”
The mental toughness Korman showed late in her final round is one of the strongest aspects of her game, according to Dave Scinocca, a golf pro at Shilo Country Club and Wheat City Golf Course in Brandon.
Scinocca has worked with Korman since she was nine years old.
“She’s able to regroup when she’s struggling on a few holes or has a couple of bad shots,” he said.
“Her focus and determination is a strength she has that others don’t, for sure.”
Scinocca instructs Korman anywhere from five to 10 times per year, depending when she can make it back to Brandon. He said her winless drought was due, in part, to her putting too much pressure on herself.
“I know she was working really hard over the winter and she wanted to come back rejuvenated this year, so to get a win this past weekend is fantastic.”
“Cala had a really natural swing at a young age and a lot of raw talent. With her determination and work ethic, it’s going to take her far in this game.”
Korman expects to compete in several more tournaments this summer at the provincial and national level, including the Manitoba Junior Girl’s Championship, before trying to qualify for the Canada Summer Games.
She said a career involving golf is her top priority, as she grows closer to the collegiate level.
“Whether that’s playing on a tour or being a pro at a golf course, I just want to do something with golf right now.”
La Broquerie Golf Course hosted two other tournaments on the weekend. Kristian Hammerback (156) won the Manitoba All Abilities Championship in the gross division, while Adam Blair (158) and Jewel Lafleche (190) captured the Manitoba Junior Bantam Championship in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.
Joshua Frey-Sam happily welcomes a spirited sports debate any day of the week.