Kyla Inaba played calm and cool en route to a second-place result at last week’s 2020 PGA of GBC Women’s Championships in Richmond.
The 36-hole tournament concluded Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Richmond Country Club. Using a stableford scoring format in which points are scored based on the number of strokes taken on each hole, the golfer with the highest score took home the title.
The 33-year-old of Vernon’s Predator Ridge Golf Resort finished 10 points behind Richmond’s Christine Wong, who finished on top of the field of 10 with 80 points to improve upon a runner-up finish of her own at last year’s tournament.
Having played alongside Wong in the first round, Inaba said the 2020 champion’s performance over the two days was something special to see.
“It felt like we were back on tour because we were both going bomb-for-bomb and she never really faltered,” Inaba said. “She just played really consistent golf.”
Wong’s six birdies and no bogeys over the final 18 holes marked the best round of the championship.
With a strong second-round score of 39, Inaba leapfrogged defending champion Salimah Mussani of Burnaby’s Riverway Golf Course to grab second place in the final standings.
The key, Inaba said, was staying mentally relaxed and cherishing the moment in what was just her third and fourth rounds of the 2020 season.
“(Having) zero expectations yesterday was a really good warm-up and it was really nice to play stress-free golf, because in the past professional golf for me came with a lot of anxiety,” Inaba said. “Now, we’re all in the same boat – we never get to play golf – so this was a lot of fun and the girls were great to play with.”
Inaba, who was named the PGA of BC’s Teacher of the Year for the Interior region last month, says the tournament reflected the impressive growth she’s seen in women’s golf.
“I really think we have a women’s movement in golf, especially with the strong leaders we had in the field this week. A lot of us are here not just to play golf, but to network and catch up on all the great things each other is doing around the province.”
Inaba’s own qualities as a leader haven’t gone unnoticed. On Oct. 6 she was announced the 2020 recipient of the PGA of BC Community Leadership Bursary, which goes to an individual who demonstrates a passion towards making a difference in the sport and in the lives of others.
Since 2019 she’s headed the Swing Like a Girl instruction program at Predator Ridge, working to make golf more fun and less intimidating for women while creating a community that comes together hrough golf. With more than 100 participants in 2020 alone, Inaba intends to use the $1,000 bursary to boost her coaching expertise and continue the momentum Swing Like a Girls has gained under her watch.
Wong’s victory earned her $1,000 with Inaba taking home $700 out of the $3,000 tournament purse.