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Canadian Junior Girls Championship opens in Lethbridge with low scores on Day 1

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WATCH: With some of Canada’s best young female golfers in Lethbridge for the week, Danica Ferris takes a look at who to watch — including a Coquitlam, B.C. native who opened the tournament with a 64 – Jul 30, 2019

The Canadian Junior Girls Championship has taken over Lethbridge Country Club for the week, and opening day on Tuesday was complete with eye-popping scores and a competitive field.

The tournament has had some historic winners, including current LPGA star Brooke Henderson in 2012.

Taking the 18-hole lead was 16-year-old Euna Han of Coquitlam, B.C., who began the tournament with an eight-under-par score of 64, which happens to be a new club record.

“I can’t feel better,” Han said. “It was a very nice day and the course was in great condition too, so that was a big part of shooting a low score.”

Han opened her round with four straight birdies and had all eyes on her after completing the front nine already six-under-par. A single bogie on the 16th hole par three was the lone hiccup in Han’s round, but she said Tuesday that it wasn’t quite the best game of her young career.

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“No… I shot 63 before,” she said with a laugh.

READ MORE: Draw held ahead of 2019 Junior Little League Canadian Championships in Lethbridge

Han has distanced herself from pre-tournament favourite Celeste Dao, who is looking to defend her 2018 title.

“I’m excited because it’s my last junior event and my last Canadian Juniors,” said Dao, “and to be able to defend my title is just exciting for me.”

Dao’s opening round of 72 put her eight strokes behind Han heading into Wednesday’s second round, so with three days left to play, the 18-year-old will be looking to make a comeback, much like she did in 2018.

At last summer’s tournament in Tsawwassen, B.C., the Quebec native had three birdies in her final five holes to secure the championship by a three-stroke margin.

Also in the field this week is Michelle Liu of Vancouver, B.C.

The 12-year-old is coming off her first Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship in Red Deer last week where she finished tied for 12th overall and was the lowest-scoring Canadian.

READ MORE: Lethbridge Bisons open Little League Divisional Championships with big win

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In Lethbridge, Liu has her eyes on a target more common for her young age.

“For this tournament, I think I’d like to win the juvenile [title],” said Liu. “I think I have a chance here and I think there’s some good competition but I think I have a chance.”

Representing the host city is Chelsea Joseph, who was given her spot in the tournament after she was chosen by Lethbridge Country Club. Joseph was the club champion at LCC in 2018.

“In November, I moved to Ontario,” said the 17-year-old. “But that year and the year before I was a member at this club, and I just think it’s a beautiful place.”

Joseph hopes her familiarity with her old stomping grounds will work to her advantage as she tries to make the cut Wednesday.

After more than 120 competitors are through 36 holes, the field will narrow to the top 70 for the final two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

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