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Royal Ottawa’s Ashley Lafontaine wins Ontario women’s match play golf championship – OttawaSportsPages.ca

Royal Ottawa’s Ashley Lafontaine wins Ontario women’s match play golf championship – OttawaSportsPages.ca

By Martin Cleary

When Ottawa native Ashley Lafontaine was six years old, her family became members of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

“At first, I didn’t like it as much as I do now. I loved the competition and the tournaments. One thing led to another and I wanted to compete,” he recalled in a phone interview Wednesday.

As a young lad, he was first introduced to the sport by Derek MacDonald, who is now the club’s academy manager.

“He always believed in me. He saw talent back then and he just kept believing in me and that made me believe in myself. He saw potential and determination,” added Lafontaine, who finished second in 2021 after winning the Ontario women’s match play championship last month at Cataraqui Golf and Country Club.

“Obviously he’s a really great coach and that’s why people know him. He understands things about golf that no one else understands. He’s taught me so much about my swing that if something’s wrong, I can fix it.”

By believing in his golfing abilities and executing many elements of his game, Lafontaine has become a standout player on the Ottawa Valley Golf Association junior circuit. He finished third in the 2018 city and regional medals and second in the 2019 city and regional medals and match play tournaments.

In 2020, she repeated her runner-up finishes at two OVGA city and regional junior championships and finished third in the women’s city and regional medal tournament. While her results were good, the Grade 12 student at Nepean High School was running out of time to earn an athletic scholarship to an American university.


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Lafontaine made a point of becoming a better player during the 2020-21 winter, and it paid off big. When the 2021 golf season arrived, he was ready to play with no goals in mind.

“I worked really hard on my game over the winter,” he explained. “I went into golf season and felt ready. I had no expectations. I had nothing to lose and I wanted to improve how I practiced. Just let it go.”

And she did. In a seven-day stretch early in the season, she unexpectedly won a qualifier to compete in the 2021 United States Junior Open Golf Championship, finished second in the Ontario Women’s Match Play Championship and finished third in the Ontario Junior Spring Classic. That season, she also qualified for the first Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, was invited to the Team Canada Junior Selection Camp and made the Ontario Junior Team.

“I had three good events during that week and that gave me confidence for the rest of the year,” he said.

Despite missing out on a golf scholarship a year ago, Lafontaine was excited to enroll at Elon University, an NCAA Division I school in Elon, North Carolina, for his freshman year in 2022-23.

But his freshman and sophomore years presented him with some interesting challenges. Lafontaine dealt with an overuse left wrist injury, a case of mononucleosis and the fall golf season, traditionally a season for developing his game in Ottawa.

Lafontaine dealt with his challenges in meaningful ways and continued to benefit from his golf program and academic studies.

As a student, she was named a Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American scholar for the second year on July 1. She is studying accounting (major) and sports management (minor).

He led the Elon Phoenix golf program in scoring with a team-best 74.59 strokes per round in the 2023-24 season, finished in the top 10 five times and played a role in the team victory.

Lafontaine was named the Coastal Athletic Association (formerly the Colonial Athletic Association) women’s golfer of the week for winning the Elon Invitational individual and team titles in September 2022. She made birdie on the 54th and final hole for the individual win and had an overall score of 75-68-68 for a two-under par 211.

As a 2022-23 freshman, she recorded an eagle during the playoffs to give Phoenix a team win at the William and Mary fall invitational.

Lafontaine, who has a frighteningly long tee shot, competed in the Ontario women’s match play championship in June when she returned home from her sophomore year at Elon and had her biggest hit.

After a four-over par 76 in the qualifying round to tie for seventh place, she confidently took the lead by winning all four of her matches. She beat Sunningdale’s Gabrielle Harrison 1-up in the round of 16; RattleSnake Point’s Nobelle Park 4-and-3 in the quarter-finals; Pipers Health’s Myranda Quinton 2-and-1 in the semi-finals; and RattleSnake Point’s Kaprice Park 3-and-2 in the final.

“I played Cataraqui a few times and I felt like I knew the course. I was confident and could swing freely. (The win) felt great, it was really good,” said Lafontaine, who saw it as a grateful reward after his tough experiences over the past two years.

“I like meeting people one-on-one. I feed off of that. I see what they’re doing and I want to do better.”

RIVERMEAD’S LAURIER PERRAULT WINS OVER TUNISIA IN SIXTH PLAYOFF HOLE

Laurier Perrault of Rivermead Golf Club, who came close to winning the 75th Alexander of Tunis men’s golf championship on the 36-hole regular course on Tuesday, had to go through a serious overtime to claim the title on his home course.

Standing on the 18th hole on what he thought was the final hole of his bid for a second major in Quebec Golf’s Triple Crown, Perrault made double bogey on his card and tied for first place with Royal Ottawa’s Romi Dilawri.

Perrault had rounds of 69 and 70 for a five-under par 139 total, while Dilawri moved up 35 places in the rankings and tied for first place with a seven-under 65, the best score of the second day, following his opening round 74.

A sudden-death playoff was needed to determine the champion, and Perrault marathoned through six holes until he emerged with an unmatched score. They replayed the 17th and 18th holes to determine the winner.

The last time a Rivermead golfer won the Tunisia championship was in 2017 when Robert Mackay won at Rivermead. Rivermead’s Julien Sale won the 2018 and 2019 titles, but his victories came at Royal Ottawa and Rideau View courses, respectively.

Thomas Westfall was the last Ottawa Valley Golf Association player to win Tunis in 2020, and it happened on his home course, Camelot. Seven OVGA golfers have won 11 of the last 26 Tunis championships since Rideau View’s Brad Fritsch won the title in 1999.

Emile Lebrun of Laval-Sur-Le-Lac finished in third place with a 73-67 record at four-under 140.

Four players tied for fourth at three-under 141, including Maxime Marengere of Rivermead, 74-67; Ryan Sevigny of Eagle Creek, 71-70; and Brendan Kuffner of Royal Ottawa, 66-76. Kuffner was the first-round leader on Monday.

Royal Ottawa’s James Newton (71-72) and Rivermead’s Vincent Laplante (68-75) tied for 11th place at one-under 143. Laplante finished second in the first round.

Martin Cleary has been covering amateur sports for 51 years. A former Canadian sportswriter of the year and winner of the Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sports Media award, Martin has retired from his full-time job Ottawa Citizen In 2012, however, he continued to write the biweekly “High Achievers” column Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic began, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay Safe Edition,” first on Twitter and now on OttawaSportsPages.ca, to provide positive news during difficult times.

Martin can be reached at [email protected] and at: Use @martincleary on Twitter.


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