In the swing of things

Simcoe woman becomes national long drive champion

Simcoe's Cory Ann Pond placed first at the 2019 Canadian National Championship long drive competition held at Stark's Golf Course in Port Rowan. (CONTRIBUTED)

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Simcoe’s Cory Ann Pond has swung her way to a national long drive championship title.

After multiple years of finishing the Canadian championship competition in second, Pond finally placed first with her personal best of a 328-yard drive at the Long Drive Challenge at Stark’s Golf Course.

“I didn’t know how to react at first, I kind of freaked out a little bit,” said Pond. “It was awesome because I’ve known the other people for so long and everyone was saying it was about time.”

Pond said to prepare for an event such as this she spends a lot of time at the driving range. She explained that a long drive swing and a regular golf swing are quite different so she needs to keep the mechanics for both of her swings intact.

Winning in Norfolk made the day just that much more special for Pond, who regularly competes in events across North America.

Pond said that she had to choose between Worlds in Thackerville, Oklahoma, or the Canadian Nationals at Stark’s in Port Rowan because they were both being held on the Labour Day long weekend.

“It (nationals) was definitely the one I wanted to win,” said Pond. “I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to worlds, I’ve got to go to this one,’ and it was the right decision in the end.”

Winning nationals means that Pond has been invited to the International Long Drive Challenge, being held in Mexico this November. Pond’s boyfriend, Graeme McCarrel, placed fifth in the open event at nationals and will be joining her on the adventure to the international competition.

Pond began golfing in her final years at Holy Trinity Catholic High School, where she was on the school team.

“I was not very good, but I was good enough to be on the team,” Pond recalled about the beginning of her career.

After high school Pond went to Laurentian University for a year but was disappointed to find out they didn’t have a women’s team. She attempted to create a team but the school told her there was not enough interest.

Pond then decided to head to Georgian College where she completed her Honours Bachelor of Business Administration in Golf Management, and competed on the school’s team during her years there.

“It was a lot of fun, it was super competitive and I’m all about the competitiveness,” said Pond.

This national win comes after Pond was awarded her Class A professional PGA card in June.

“It’s nice to be done that finally because it’s a lot of work. It’s kind of like another degree, it’s a lot of education and hard work,” said Pond. “I’m very happy I’ve completed it all. I didn’t think I was going to go down the professional path and the long drive thing has made it a lot more fun.”

Pond’s goals for next season are to compete in all of the Golf Channel long drive competitions, and to have a repeat win at nationals.