After two canceled editions, the Canadian Women’s Open returns with great fanfare and not just anywhere. Played on the fairways of the great golf club Ottawa Hunt in the suburbs of the federal capital, it is right in the territory of the big favorite Brooke Henderson.
The best Canadian golfer grew up in Smith Falls about forty miles south. For the next four days, she will be closely followed by her vast legion. Much to his delight, by the way.
But the controversial champion of the 2018 edition in Regina does not want to be disturbed. As soon as she plants her ball on the tee Thursday afternoon, she will be in her bubble.
At the same course in 2017, Henderson finished 12th, six strokes behind champion Sung Hyun Park, largely due to a poor start. She had resisted the ax with a small swing.
“I really have my job to do. I really have to give my best performance. I have to smile and enjoy the moment. This week is an incredible opportunity,” said one of the only two Maple Leaf representatives to win this tournament. The other was Quebecois Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973.
She will attempt to steal the crown from defending champion Jin Young Ko, who won at Magna Golf Club in August 2019. The 2020 and 2021 editions had been canceled due to the pandemic.
Also, four golfers from La Belle Province are leaving Ottawa this morning. After a stellar season on the LPGA Tour, Maude-Aimée Leblanc has three top 10 finishes and is 61st in the CME Globe race.
It’s an official return to the country for the Quebecer, who had opted to step down to the LPGA’s antechamber after the 2019 season, which had allowed him to return to the world elite.
“It’s fun to come back and play here. I’ve always said it’s my favorite tournament. It’s the one I look at primarily. When it’s so close to home, it’s all the more special,” said the 33-year-old golfer, who regained her strength primarily by taming her putter.
This will lead the young wolves Valérie Tanguay, Brigitte Thibault and the amateur Sarah-Ève Rhéaume.
Thibault will also start his first tournament as a professional. After five years on the American varsity circuit with the Fresno Bulldogs and the Texas Longhorns, the 23-year-old Quebecois decided to take the plunge by exiting the amateur ranks when she finished at No. 361. She had reached the 105th level in recent years.
With 12 to the elite
The week of the Canadian Women’s Open had barely started on Monday when a gifted youngster set a record.
Lucy Lin became the youngest competitor in tournament history when she secured her spot through qualifying.
“I’m very excited. Words fail me to describe the feat of playing with the best in the world dropped the one who started tickling the little white ball three years ago.
“It’s incredible. I’m nervous but I need to calm down and be patient,” she added, hoping to resist the axe.
But first and foremost she wants to enjoy the moment.
“I want to enjoy this experience and meet all these great golfers. Maybe I can get some autographs.”
She will surely return to Vancouver next week with a head full of memories to tell her classmates about her adventure.
– At the age of 57, Canadian Lorie Kane competes in the Women’s Open for the 30th and final time of her career.
The federal government awarded Golf Canada nearly $4.4 million in support of its two major national championships, the women’s and men’s Omniums, under the Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative program.
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