Playing in a national championship tournament in your hometown is always special, but it brings extra pressure.
Rachel Pollock and Katie McTaggart, the two Guelph natives playing in this week’s Golf Canada amateur women’s championship tournament at Cutten Fields, are enjoying taking their swings in front of the locals who have come out to cheer them on.
“There is that extra added pressure when they say ‘Rachel Pollock from Guelph’ on the tee there,” Pollock said. “There’s that little bit of extra pressure with people and family and friends coming out to watch, but it’s great to have a national championship in Guelph.”
“It’s been awesome playing at home,” McTaggart said. “I’ve played here a lot of times so I know the course really well and I know the greens really well. All the members have been really great and supportive so it’s been a lot of fun.”
Both have had plenty of success on the Cutten Fields course as both have won the club championship. McTaggart is the reigning champion and Pollock won it each of the three years before that.
Both are also John F. Ross CVI graduates who won the District 10 girls’ golf title while there, McTaggart in 2013 and 14 and Pollock in 2011 and 12.
Stephanie Tucker of Orangeville, the 2010 champion, is also in the tournament.
Having the tournament in their hometown can have another benefit for the local pair.
“I get to sleep in my own bed, which is definitely unheard of when you’re playing in a national championship,” Pollock said. “I was out in Nova Scotia last year which was a long way from home so it’s nice to have a home-cooked meal and your own bed to sleep in.”
And the two Guelphites have made it a little extra special as both have their mothers acting as caddies.
“She’s cooking and she was caddying today so it’s double duty,” Pollock said.
“That was fun, for sure, having her on the bag,” McTaggart said. “Once a couple of years ago she caddied for me.”
The national amateur championship will bring the summer golf seasons for both McTaggart and Pollock to an end.
McTaggart will be entering her third year at Western Illinois University where she’s studying nutrition and is a member of the varsity women’s golf team.
“This is my last tournament, then I head back to school in about three weeks. I’m looking forward to that season. That should be fun.”
Pollock graduated from East Tennessee State University in the spring with a degree in exercise science and a minor in coaching, but she’ll be attending Arkansas State University where she’ll be working on her masters and helping coach the school’s women’s golf team. She was on ETSU’s varsity women’s golf team all four years she was there.
“This is it,” she said. “I’m going down to Arkansas State in two weeks to move in, start coaching and get ready with the girls so I’m really looking forward to that. This is kind of the capital end of my summer at home.
“I wouldn’t want to end it anywhere else.”
Others with ties to Guelph in the tournament are Mary Ann Hayward, who was a member of the club for a couple of her championships, and reigning club junior girls’ champion Kristen Giles.
The tournament runs to Friday with the field of 156 being cut to the top 70 and ties after the third round Wednesday