Hannah Diamond could not have picked a better time to have the best round of her life.
The Vancouver Island University Mariners freshman shot a 6-over-78 over the first 18 holes of the Ping 2013 Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Golf National Championships at the Royal Quebec Golf Club in Quebec City to sit in a tie for fourth in the women's division.
Her round carried VIU to fourth place on Wednesday's first round of the championship that finishes up on Friday.
Marie Hohn had an up and down day, finishing tied for 13th at 13-over-85 while Parksville's Kalli Gordon struggled to a 17-over-89.
For Diamond, the round was nine shots better than she shot all year, twice shooting an 87 before.
"My adrenaline was rushing the entire time, I didn't expect that out of myself," she said. "Usually in tournaments I don't play as well as I can play, so to do it is shocking and really exciting at the same time. I knew it was going to happen eventually and I'm glad it's happened here."
She was tied for fourth with Adrienne D'Alessio from Humber College, while Valérie Tanguay of Champlain St. Lawrence had a five-shot lead after an opening 5-under-67. Jen Woods of the University Fraser Valley was in at an even-par-72 and Heather MacKenzie of St. Clair College rounded out the to three with a 4-over-76.
Diamond, a Winnipeg native, felt right at home on the 5,605-yard course that features tree-lined, but wide fairways with large inviting greens.
"I really like the course, because being from Manitoba I'm really used to the landscape of the course, being flat and wide open," said Diamond. "It was nice to go back into that kind of a course."
VIU head coach Kevin Oates was thrilled with her performance.
"She's hitting the ball as well as she's hit it all year, she's putting it better than she ever has, so there's absolutely no reason to think she can't keep this going another day or two," he said.
Oates was happy with the way the entire group played on Wednesday, but also knows there is room to improve and try to move up on to the podium.
The Mariners entered the championships as the fourth ranked team in the country.
The top two scores from each school on the day count towards their overall score. As a group, they were sitting fourth overall with a 163, four shots behind St. Clair College and Humber College who are at 159. Meanwhile the UFV is in first place at 153. But MacEwan University is right behind VIU at 166 to round out the top five.
To do this, they will need to build off Wednesday's performance.
"The key for us today was probably just staying in the moment, not getting ahead of ourselves and focusing on one shot at a time," said Oates.
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