A final hole bogey at the 2017 LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey spoiled Alena Sharp’s chance at a career-best finish, but it was still a milestone event in her season.
An errant approach on the 18th hole at Ko Olina in Hawaii was precipitated by a chunk of mud of her ball, resulted in the bogey. Her second shot into the par four flew wildly offline, then she had to convert a five foot putt just to secure the bogey. The blemish kept the Hamilton native from earning a share of 2nd place, which would have been her career best finish on the LPGA TOUR. The 36-year-old has been a TOUR member since 2005.
The 2016 Canadian Olympian posted scores of 67-69-66-70 this week (-16) to earn her best finish of 2017. Cristie Kerr won with a final score of -20 for her 19th career LPGA victory.
Sharp is projected to rise 32 spots in the Race to CME Glove as a result of her top 5 finish. She started the week in 76th and is expected to move into 44th place.
In eight events this year Sharp has just one other top 20 finish, a tie for 16th at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
Alena struggled with her play in March and attributed much of her improvement this week to better putting. It was something she had worked on heavily in her preparation for Hawaii and was feeling a lot more confident about it. It showed. Over four rounds at Ko Olina she required 110 putts, including just 24 in the opening round. Only one player on tour this year is averaging better than the 27.5 putts per round average she had this week.
Henederson Moves Up
Also faring well in the event was the only other Canadian to make the cut, Brooke Henderson. The 19-year-old closed with a 68 (-4) to reach 11 under par and share 11th place. She posted rounds of 70-69-70-68 this week. The finish was her second best result of the year so far.
The LPGA has a week off then returns on April 27th with the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout presented by JTBC in suburban Dallas.