Sandra Schell of Big Valley wrapped up a banner golf season in Miami this fall. The Alberta champion garnered top honours in the Canadian Golf Town national amateur series.

Golfer swings to success on national tour

Big Valley’s Sandra Schell golfed her way to top honours in the Canadian Golf Town national amateur series in Miami this fall.

Big Valley’s Sandra Schell golfed her way to top honours in the Canadian Golf Town national amateur series in Miami this fall. She claimed the National Order of Merit, won the women’s skins game and claimed third place in the national championship.

The tournaments were played at Miami’s prestigious Doral Spa and Resort, home of the Blue Monster, now a TPC course. The Blue Monster has been the site to a PGA Tour event for more than 46 years. The likes of Tiger Woods play that course.

Schell said it was just her third year of competitive golfing. She enjoys the perks of the amateur series, which enabled her to travel across Canada.

“You get to golf at fantastic golf courses that you wouldn’t normally be able to afford,” she said.

The Golf Town national amateur series provides men and women of all ages, with any handicap, the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. The goal is to provide the highest standard of professionalism, offering golfers the opportunity to play a collection of Canada’s finest golf courses and experience the excitement, camaraderie and friendly competition of tournament golf.

From May through September, Canadian golfers can play 25 of the nation’s finest public and private golf courses in one-day tournament formats.

Schell qualified for the national series in Miami with her first-place finish in Alberta, by winning the women’s open at the Western Major at the Silvertip golf resort in Kananaskis Country.

As a result of her top placing, she qualified for a free round-trip ticket to the national championship.

Schell said she was fortunate to have the local sponsorship of Granny’s Fudge Factory in Big Valley.

A lifelong resident of Big Valley, Schell said she used to golf with her father. After his death two years ago, she was weighing whether to drop golf or to pursue it with greater passion.

She did the latter, and 2012 was a “no-looking-back” kind of year for her.

At some of the competitions, Schell was accompanied by her husband Scott.

In Miami, he caddied and shared in her glory.

“It’s great when (Scott) can be there — he keeps me calm,” Schell said.

The Miami event did get thrown a curve, though, with Hurricane Sandy striking along the eastern coast of the U.S. during the finals.

“On the second day of the tournament, the winds and rain really came in and suspended the second round,” Schell said. “We played the third and fourth rounds of the tournament in winds that were gusting over 90 miles an hour.

“When the rain would come — it sounded like 1,000 horses running straight at you — and when it hit you, it would feel like small hail pelting you. Then it would go away as fast as it came, and we would just have to deal with the wind.”

Schell said she’s looking forward to her next amateur tournament at the end of January, when she and friend Theresa Greig compete in the 10th annual “Duel in the Desert” championship at Las Vegas.

“The people you meet are fantastic,” she said.

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