Christina Spence Proteau of Port Alberni won the Mid-Amateur division at the 2021 Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur and Senior golf championship Sept. 2 in Bromont, Quebec. It was her first national win in seven years.
Proteau won the championship in a playoff with Nonie Marler from Vancouver. The Port Alberni golfer entered the final round one stroke back of Marler, who held the Mid-Amateur lead for the first two rounds. The two B.C. golfers were tied at 5-over-par after the final hole of the 54-hole tournament, forcing the sudden-death playoff.
“We replayed the 18th hole,” Proteau related. “I lost the coin toss so Nonie Marler got to tee off first. She hit a good drive. I also hit a good drive, 10 or 15 yards past hers, a little bit in the rough. In regulation I had a 4-iron (club) and I had the same club in the playoff. I choked up a little bit (on the club) and was a bit more certain about it in the playoff.”
Proteau nearly won in regulation with a strong shot out of the bunker on the par-5 18th hole but fell just short. The second time she hit it right at the flag 180 yards straight uphill “and it was perfect.”
“There was a crowd up there around the green of competitors and spectators and everybody cheered when it landed by the cup. I was pretty excited.”
She scored a birdie on the final shot to win the playoff and the national title.
“Feels unbelievable,” she said after the tournament. “I’ve had a few years—seven, specifically—since my last win at the national level, and I’ve definitely had some doubts for the last few years if it would happen again.”
She came close three years ago to winning the title again, also in a playoff in the final of the national mid-amateur, but it didn’t go as well. Proteau was in a four-hole playoff with Sue Wooster of Australia and although she played a decent playoff she didn’t win the 2018 title.
“I was pretty out of shape three years ago; I was coming off my last maternity leave,” she said.
During the COVID-19 lockdown when all golf tournaments were cancelled and she couldn’t go to the course Proteau bought a mountain bike and started riding several days a week. She also started taking Pilates with an instructor and fellow golfer, Crystal Taylor. “She’s really helped me feel like an athlete for the first time in a long time,” Proteau said. “I felt so strong last week. My power game and my long game came back in stride.”
Golf has always been a family affair for Proteau and her husband Jim, who often caddies for her. With the arrival of two children, both under the age of seven, they’ve amped it up a level.
The whole family went to Penticton for the B.C. Amateur championships earlier this summer, and Jim looked after the kids while Proteau’s friend Rhonda Poullos caddied for her. Proteau finished 15th, and said it was a special trip to share with her family. “I was able to show my oldest son my name on the B.C. Amateur trophy three times because he can read now. He was proud that that was special for me.”
Poullos also caddied for Proteau in the national championship in Quebec. Jim didn’t make the trip this time. “I stayed back with the kids,” he said. “We’ve always gone to every one together. It’s usually harder for me to watch from home,” he said.
“I haven’t seen her this excited in a long time.”
Proteau agreed. “I’m still on Cloud 9 days later, that’s just how excited I feel about this one…this is my second golf career that’s going to kick in.”