Simon says nine for Shiels

Betty Ann Shiels knew if she was going to win her ninth Ladies Simon Fraser Open title on Sunday, she'd have to come from behind to do it.

After an opening-round score of 86 at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club, Shiels was three strokes behind 18-hole leader Lisa Kerley of Williams Lake, who carded a first-round score of 83.

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The two were in Sunday's final group with Shirley Halladay.

Shiels wound up firing a final round of 85 for a two-day total of 171 to claim the championship, two strokes ahead of Kelly Flaherty of Williams Lake who finished second overall with scores of 88 and 85 for a total of 173.

Kerley, the defending champion, shot a 92 and finished tied for fifth.

"It wasn't my best, but it was good enough to win," said Shiels, a PGGCC member, shortly after she walked off the 18th green Sunday. "Yesterday (Saturday) I shot an 86 and I didn't feel comfortable at all and today I felt a little better. I was very tentative on my short putts and I wasn't striking it solidly. Probably on holes 14 to 17, I three-putted each of them.

"Today, I was striking the ball better. You always want to go in and play your best and see how it goes and the ball bounces. I had three strokes to make up and I knew it wouldn't be easy."

Barb Vincent finished third overall with a two-day score of 174 (88-86), while Cheryle Poulin tied with Kerley for fifth place with scores of 87 and 88 for a total of 175.

In 2014, Kerley beat Shiels by four strokes to win her first Simon Fraser title.

But Shiels has played a lot more golf this year, especially since the PGGCC course opened in early April.

"The course is in awesome shape, the greens are phenomenal," said Shiels. "The rough is incredible and it's tough to hit it out of there. I got into the rough a little bit but I was hoping to chip it close."

Even though she's now won the tournament nine times, each victory is unique.

"It never gets old winning this tournament," she said. "Every one is different."

A total of 76 women from Prince George, Quesnel and Williams Lake and Mackenzie teed off in the two-day event.

That's up from the 64 players who competed last year.

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