While 20-year-old sensation Ariya Jutanugarn was winning her 5th LPGA title of the year at the 2016 CP Women’s Open, the Canadian contingent was also having quite an Alberta showing.
For the first time ever three Canadian women finished in the top 15 of the national women’s open championship and leading the way was Ontario’s Alena Sharp.
Sharp (68-70-67-67) used a weekend surge at Priddis Greens in Calgary to capture 4th place alone and the (USD) $116,607 that went with it. It is her best showing in the tournament in her lengthy career.
The 35 year-old who born in Hamilton has been on quite a run of golf since the start of June. Since then she has recorded three top fifteen finishes on the LPGA Tour and represented Canada at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The level of her play has certainly not been lost on her.
“…these last three months have been amazing, leading up to the Olympics, going there, playing well but not scoring well, and then coming here and playing really well,” Sharp said immediately after the final round. “This is my best finish ever on the Tour, and I guess I love Alberta. My first top 10 ever on Tour was at the Mayfair in 2007, I think, and now here I got fourth place, I think. I’m not sure how it’ll shake out, but definitely it’s my best finish.”
Sharp, who has not has a great history of play in the CP Women’s Open, pointed to that as making this year’s finish all that more meaningful.
“I can’t really describe how great it feels to play this well in Canada because I have not played well at the Canadian Open in recent years, and to come back here and miss the cut last time and then really dominate and kind of take a little bit back from the course that it took from me in 2009 and be here in front of the hometown crowd, it’s amazing. There’s no better feeling to have.”
She hopes to carry that momentum into the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ontario this week.
“…couldn’t have asked for a better way to come back from Rio, to play in Canada for two weeks, and playing well here is icing on the cake, and now I get to go play basically in my own backyard. My parents will be there. I can’t really put into words how happy I am right now.”
Five strokes back of Sharp and sharing 14th were Canadians Brooke Henderson (72-68-69-69) and Maude-Aimee Leblanc (69-69-70-69).
Henderson had her best showing in the CP Women’s Open to date but pointed to a busy schedule and a not-quite up to par game as the reasoning for not achieving more.
“You know, I don’t think it was 100 percent,” she said referring to the state of her game. “but it was really close to being really good, which is always fun. Canadian Opens I haven’t always finished my best here just because it’s so busy and I have so many commitments and a lot of other things going on, but since I started when I was 14, I’ve just continued a little bit every year, which is always a good sign. This will be — it looks like it will be my best finish here, so hopefully next year and the years after, I’ll get closer to that No. 1 spot.”
The surprise finisher to many was Leblanc, a talented Quebec golfer who had more missed cuts than finishes this season through the end of May but has yet to miss a weekend since then. Even with her strong play in Alberta the long hitter did not feel it was a breakout performance, although she was pleased with the result.
“It means a lot to play good in front of everybody. I mean, we have a lot of supporters this week, so it’s nice to see everybody come out and support us. But yeah, I played good, but obviously there’s some improvement I need to make.”
Two other Canadians made the cut in Calgary, Anne-Catherine Tanguay tied for 59th, as did hometown girl Jaclyn Lee who took the title as top amateur and the Marlene Streit Medal that goes with it.
2016 CP Women’s Open Sunday Interviews