Lobstick champion Ashley Olynick of Saskatoon, pelts the drive with superb technique at Waskesiu on Friday. Herald photo by Gary Pearson
--WASKESIU--There was nothing to choose from between finalists at the 2011 Ladies Lobstick final until Saskatoon’s Ashley Olynick heated up on the back nine, where she pulled away to seal the championship.
“It took me a while to get going,” said Olynick, who celebrated her second lobstick triumph with Friday’s win. “I think I was half asleep.”
Runner-up Lori Salahub had a dream start to the round and was two strokes up after two holes. But Salahub was only able to bogey the third, letting Olynick back to within striking distance.
The eventual champion settled into her round nicely and levelled the match on the fourth hole with a lovely delicate chip from the fringe. And although Salahub’s putt from distance was measured almost perfectly, it wasn’t enough to stay ahead.
Olynick’s chipping was a developing storyline as the round progressed, which she was able to put an exclamation mark on at six with the chip of the day. From the fringe, the 24-year-old was faced with a tricky and uncomfortable short-range uphill shot. The ball had just enough loft to clear the top of the incline, trickling favourably to within a couple of feet of the cup.
Salahub, on the other hand, had her putt lip out agonizingly, handing the champion her first lead of day. The pride of Flin Flon, Sask., a town of about 6,000 people, considering she has not participated in a competitive tournament for almost a decade, displayed extreme resilience.
“I knew I was going to have to make pars or better to keep it competitive. We had a good front. It was close, back and forth,” said Salahub. “It was great, but I knew if I got down a little bit it was going to be an uphill climb and that it was.”
Unfortunately for the surprise finalist, Olynick found her game after another magnificent chip, this time on nine. It helped restore her lead, a lead she would not relinquish.
“I think we were pretty close going through nine, but then at the turn I was like, okay get your act together here and start making some shots,” said Olynick. “I hadn’t made any great chips or great putts up until that point, so then you know it kind of gives you that boost once you make a putt and then you get on a role.”
Winning consecutive holes increased the champion’s lead to three, proving an insurmountable deficit for Salahub to erase.
“I’m not sure I’m there,” said Salahub, 47, who is used to putting on smaller greens on her home course. “I felt okay, but obviously parts of my game are a little rusty.”
The native of Saskatoon wrapped up her second victory on the 15th hole and is left with only one remaining tournament of the season, which will take place next week in Saskatoon.