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Augusta James Receives CN Canadian Women’s Open Exemption

Golf Canada announced the last of their tournament exemptions on Monday and among them was an invite extended to 18 year-old Augusta James, a member at the Loyalist Country Club in Bath, Ontario.  A number of other regional players will also try and qualify next Monday at the Blainvillier Golf Club and expand the number of Canadians in the field.  They include Lise Jubinville (Ottawa), Kiersten Klekner-Alt (Ottawa), Julie Cashaback (Ottawa), Brooke Henderson (Smiths Falls), Victoria Thompson (Akwesasne), and Marlies Klekner-Alt (Ottawa).

Here is the press release as provided by Golf Canada:

Mirabel, Que. (Golf Canada) – CN and Golf Canada are pleased to announce that former Team Canada member Maude-Aimee LeBlanc of Sherbrooke, Que., as well as Isabelle Beisiegel of Sainte Hilaire, Que., are among the players extended tournament exemptions to compete August 22-28 at the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open at Hillsdale Golf & Country Club in Mirabel, Que.

Beisiegel has a pair of top-10 finishes on the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour, including a recent T5 finish and also finished top-10 on the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Order of Merit.  A former LPGA Tour member as well as former Quebec Amateur and Junior champion, Beisiegel made headlines earlier this year when she earned non-exempt status on the Canadian Tour through the 2011 Spring Qualifying School to become the first woman to earn playing privileges on a men’s professional golf tour.

LeBlanc, a recent graduate of Golf’s Canada’s National Amateur Golf Team Program, will be competing in her home province for the first time as a professional.   The former amateur standout is a former three-time Quebec Amateur and two-time Quebec Junior Girls champion who also helped Purdue win the 2010 NCAA Division I Team Championship.  Last month she finished T8 at Stage-1 of the 2011 LPGA Qualifying Tournament.

A pair of non-exempt Canadian LPGA Tour players – Lisa Meldrum of Montreal and Adrienne White of Red Deer, Alta., – were also extended tournament exemptions to compete at Hillsdale.  Meldrum, a former Canadian Junior Girls champion and three-time Canadian Women’s Amateur champion will be competing in her 7th CN Canadian Women’s Open and first in her home province, while White, who is competing in the event for the 3rd time in her career, will look to improve on her T54 finish at the 2010 event in Winnipeg.

Also extended exemptions to compete were Team Canada members Augusta James of Bath, Ont., and Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ont.  James’ stellar 2011 season includes a victory at the 2011 Ontario Women’s Amateur, medalist honours at the 2011 U.S. Public Links qualifier and a T7 finish on the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Order of Merit.  Vandermade advanced to match play at the 2011 British Amateur Championship, finished 9th at the Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur and T37 at Stage 1 of the 2011 LPGA Qualifying Tournament.

James and Vandermade will join previously exempt Team Canada members Rebecca Lee Bentham of Toronto (2011 Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur champion); Jessica Wallace of Langley, B.C. (CN Canadian Women’s Tour – Ontario event winner); and 15-year old Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, B.C. (CN Canadian Women’s Tour – Order of Merit).

Earlier this year, six players earned tournament exemptions by way of the CN Canadian Women’s Tour including event winners Jessica Shepley of Oakville, Ont. (B.C. event @ Squamish Valley GC); Katy Harris (Quebec event @ club de golf Beloeil) and Jessica Wallace of Langley, B.C. (Ontario event @ Blue Springs); as well as Order of Merit exemption winners Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., Danielle Mills of Pointe-Claire, Que., and Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, B.C.

Earlier this year, teenage sensation Alexis Thompson as well as Team Canada graduate and former Quebec Amateur champion Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que., were extended tournament exemptions to compete.  Juneau will compete in her home province for the first time as a professional.

Rounding out the list of 2011 exemptions is American Laura Bavaird of Dearborn, Mich., winner of the 2010 PGA of Canada Women’s Championship.

With announcement of these additional tournament exemptions, a total of 17 Canadians will compete at Hillsdale looking to become the first Canadian to win an LPGA Tour event on home soil since Jocelyne Bourassa did in 1973.

Bourassa, a member of the Canadian and Quebec Golf Halls of Fame will serve as Honorary Tournament Chair for the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open.

The list of Canadians competing in the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open includes Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ont., Lorie Kane of Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont.; Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C.; Lisa Meldrum of Montreal; Isabelle Beisiegel of Sainte Hilaire, Que.; Adrienne White of Red Deer, Alta., Jessica Shepley of Oakville, Ont., Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., Danielle Mills of Pointe-Claire, Que.; Sara Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que; and Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que.; as well as Team Canada members Jessica Wallace of Langley, B.C.; Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Toronto; Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ont.; Augusta James of Bath, Ont.; and Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, B.C.

Quebec golf will also be well represented with a local contingent of Meldrum, Beisiegel, Juneau, LeBlanc and Mills looking to impress in front of the hometown crowd.

The Canadian and exemption contingent will join a world-class field at Hillsdale that includes a number of confirmed LPGA stars including defending champion Michelle Wie and world No. 1 Yani Tseng as well as LPGA Tour stars Suzann Pettersen, Jiyai Shin, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer as well as Britanny Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Stacy Lewis.

A field of 156 competitors will vie for the $2.25 million CN Canadian Women’s Open.  The deadline for players to confirm their intention to compete at the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open in Mirabel, Que. is Tuesday, August 16.