Houston team eclipses field at Smithers Ladies Northern Open

From left, Ladies Northern Open winners Hellen Slaney, Loraine Halfe, Dallas Edwards and Lillian Kelly celebrate their Ladies Northern Open victory on the 18th hole at the Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)From left, Ladies Northern Open winners Hellen Slaney, Loraine Halfe, Dallas Edwards and Lillian Kelly celebrate their Ladies Northern Open victory on the 18th hole at the Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)
From left, Lillian Kelly, Loraine Halfe, Dallas Edwards and Hellen Slaney celebrate a birdie on the 36th hole of the Ladies Northern Open that gave them a five-stroke victory at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)From left, Lillian Kelly, Loraine Halfe, Dallas Edwards and Hellen Slaney celebrate a birdie on the 36th hole of the Ladies Northern Open that gave them a five-stroke victory at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)
From left, Melanie Anthony, Heather Gallagher, Sandra Smith and Emily Davidson (dubbed the Rhinestone Cowgirls) get into the “Swing with Bling” spirit of the Ladies Northern Open during the rain-soaked first round on July 17 at the Smithers Golf and Country Club. (Contributed photo)From left, Melanie Anthony, Heather Gallagher, Sandra Smith and Emily Davidson (dubbed the Rhinestone Cowgirls) get into the “Swing with Bling” spirit of the Ladies Northern Open during the rain-soaked first round on July 17 at the Smithers Golf and Country Club. (Contributed photo)
Dubbing their team “Diamonds in the Rough” W, left, X, Y and Z were the Low Net winners of the Ladies Northern Open at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Contributed photo)Dubbing their team “Diamonds in the Rough” W, left, X, Y and Z were the Low Net winners of the Ladies Northern Open at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Contributed photo)
Loraine Halfe putts for a birdie on the 36th hole of the Ladies Northern Open that would give her team a five-stroke victory at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)Loraine Halfe putts for a birdie on the 36th hole of the Ladies Northern Open that would give her team a five-stroke victory at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)
Dallas Edwards hits her approach shot to the green on the 36th hole of the Ladies Northern Open en route to a five-stroke victory for her team from Houston at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)Dallas Edwards hits her approach shot to the green on the 36th hole of the Ladies Northern Open en route to a five-stroke victory for her team from Houston at Smithers Golf and Country Club July 18. (Thom Barker photo)

The Smithers Golf and Country Club’s Ladies Northern Open championship is leaving town this year.

A team from Houston consisting of Loraine Halfe, Dallas Edwards, Hellen Slaney and Lillian Kelly eclipsed the field of 18 foursomes in the annual scramble event with a low gross score of 134 over two rounds July 17 and 18.

Following a first round 66 to lead after day one, the Houston team did not look back carding a 68 Sunday for a five-stroke victory.

Halfe, a first-time member of the Smithers club in 2021 and who drained a 12-foot putt for birdie on the 36th hole, spoke on behalf of the team.

“It feels really good to win the tournament,” she said. “We had an age group of a little over 200 years of age, I believe, between all of us ladies and the course was in wonderful shape, the cooks were good, I thought we did really well.”

Low Net honours went to the Smithers team of Rachel Eller, Suzanne Brooks, Joscelyn Hawes and Brett Tolton.

Prizes were also handed out to the top team in each of the three flights.

In A Flight, Ann Maher, Kim Moldenhauer, Eowyn Netzel and Carson Vida prevailed with a five-under-par 139 for the two days.

Karla Eguia, Casey Gero, Taylor Reese-Handsen and Chalaine Hannah also carded a 139, good for top spot in the B Flight.

Rounding out the winners circle were C Flight champions Cheryl Butler, Jessy Chapman, Kate Howard and Regina Saimoto with an 11-over-par 155.

The soggy start to the weekend with heavy rain Saturday morning did not dampen the spirits of the 76 women who turned up from communities from Prince George to Prince Rupert and celebrated the year’s theme of “Swing with Bling” by wearing glittery costumes and decorating their golf carts.

Tournament co-organizer Joni Parker said she was thrilled how it all came together in a very short period of time.

“COVID did make it difficult, it made planning a little bit more difficult than anticipated because we didn’t want to do a whole lot of planning before July 1st until the COVID restrictions were either rescinded or we knew what was going to happen,” she said.

Nevertheless, they pulled it all together with the support of local businesses.

“They have been absolutely fantastic and supportive,” Parker said.

“I think this weekend the tournament was absolutely fantastic,” she said. “It was an amazing turnout and we had so much community support.”

The Ladies Northern Open has been played since 1955. Through most of its history it was played as a individual stroke-play tournaments, but in recent years has been switched to a foursomes scramble format.