Golfer closes circle on comeback with Invictus bronze

Sandy Bates, Invictus

Karyne Gelinas (left), and Sandy Bates (right) from Team Canada win silver and bronze, respectively, in the Invictus Women’s Golf event at the St. George’s Golf and Country Club on Sept. 26. Cornelia Oosthuizen is centre with her gold medal. Photo by: Corporal Michael MacIsaac

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Canadian Armed Forces veteran Master Corporal (Retired) Sandy Bate of Victoria captured a bronze medal in golf at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.

Bate, 57, was an accomplished athlete at CFB Esquimalt until her medical release eight years ago, and then struggled to overcome two knee replacement surgeries before making her return to the golf course in June 2016. Ahead of the Sept. 23 to 30 international sporting competition for injured or sick military personnel and veterans, Bate said her path to recovery “had come full circle”. Being selected had “given her something to shoot for.”

“Sports was always a way for me to fit in, but when I was unable to participate any longer it came difficult for me to cope,” said Bate.

The Invictus golf competition was played on the links at historic St. Georges Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke on Sept. 26. Leading up to the competition Bate dedicated her performance to the memories of her late mother and brother who were both avid golfers.

Bate scored a total of 24 points finishing three points behind Canada’s Karyne Gelinas, a retired Air Force Air Traffic Controller from Moncton, and gold medalist Corneilia Oosthuuizen of the United Kingdom who topped the field with a 32. The Invictus Golf tournament employed a Modified Stableford Scoring System that awards points for a golfer’s performance on each hole.

Bate says a crucial factor in her comeback was an adjustment to her swing, necessitated by the lack of flexibility in her knee.

She enjoyed a 21-year military career before her retirement in 2009. In 2007 she was recognized for her athletic achievements and included in the CAF Honour Roll for her outstanding contributions in golf, ice hockey, floor hockey, broomball and slowpitch.

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