It's gold on the green for Yellowknife's Deanne Whenham at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games
17-year-old Whenham kicked the Yellowknife sand out of her cleats to take golfing gold in Toronto
Yellowknife's Deanne Whenham has won gold in the golf competition at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.
The 17-year-old cut her teeth on Yellowknife's only golf course, with fairways of sand rather than grass. The greens on the Yellowknife golf course are artificial, and golfers carry a turf mat.
But she's proven she has what it takes to dominate in international competition on a course with real grass greens, and all the trimmings of a pro course.
"I surprised myself," Whenham said. "I didn't really have a good practice run. I scored a nine on the first hole but after that everything started clicking."
Whenham's strong play even surprised coach Brandon Waterhouse who was there in Toronto for the competition.
"I knew she was playing well, but I didn't really know she'd be playing this well," Waterhouse said.
"She played great and she stayed calm. She really pulled herself together when she had to play tough shots."
The final day of competition was reduced from 18 holes to nine after heavy rain delayed the game.
"I think the weather delay helped us out," Waterhouse said. "We had an eleven shot lead going into nine holes. If anything was going to happen, she wasn't going to blow an 11 shot lead."
Whenham has been golfing for about five years. She's no stranger to competition. She's an accomplished hockey player who travelled to Greenland as an alternate on the N.W.T. hockey team for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games, and represented the N.W.T. at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games and the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Whenham said she'll spend the coming days honing her skills on green and grassy southern courses.
She's prepping for the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg which get underway at the end of July.
With files from Garrett Hinchey