Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Chantal Vandervoort is a three-time LPGA rookie of the year. At her most recent, in July 2015, she ended on top of the leaderboard with a stunning eagle on the 18th hole and finished up 21st overall.
After that incredible shot, which turned a potential double bogey into a stunning par, the 27-year-old Canadian had an unforgettable moment of triumph — in front of her family.
“Standing on the 17th tee, I felt a little nervous. There were a lot of Canadians out there, but once I played it a couple times and heard the crowd,” she said.
“And then [my brother] had some kind of myopic message to me in our Chinese animation that says ‘you’ve saved your grandfather’. And I felt like I’d saved my family. It’s the first time I have something in my hands and I said ‘please touch this, before I get to my family.'”
Thousands packed the course to celebrate
Vandervoort’s infectious cheerfulness and bubbly nature (or lack thereof) have been a trademark throughout her career. Which is not to say that she’s reserved. On Sunday, at LPGA Championship, she ran into an old friend. There, she told her about the incredible moment her grandfather had given her in China.
1 / 13 — Sony Open champ Ariya Jutanugarn has turned to yoga for a quiet break from her hectic golf schedule. Credit: AP
It’s a story that spans 30 years.
“I saw him last year [at the PGA Tour’s World Challenge] in December and he hadn’t seen me in a while because he was so sick. He used to sit on the side of the cart and I used to watch him. He never walked the fairways, so I could just look at him from one side of the cart, and he kind of just hung out, just like I’ve been waiting 30 years for him to come back.
“And last night he called and said he was so proud of me, and that we’ve been friends for 30 years. Because I won the tournament, he called to say congrats and said he’s so proud of me and now I finally played my best game of my life.”
She spoke on Friday after posing for photos on the sixth tee. By Monday, she’d tied for second place, behind Anna Nordqvist.
“If it hadn’t been for the eagle I wouldn’t have finished in the top 5 in Sony.”