Below is a list of how Canadian golfers fared across the major professional tours the week prior.
American Xander Schauffele carded a final round 67, including a four foot putt for par on the final hole, to claim the gold medal in the men’s golf competition at the Tokyo Olympics. The win was an emotional one for Schauffele whose father Stefan, a former track and field athlete, had his Olympic hopes dashed 40 years ago when a car crash left him blind in one eye. Schauffele is just the second American ever to win gold in golf, the first since Charles Sands in Paris in 1900.
Rory Sabbatini set an Olympic record with a final round 61, despite two bogeys, and almost forced a sudden-death playoff before settling for the silver medal while playing for Slovakia. The South African-born Sabbatini became a Slovakian citizen in 2018 thanks to his wife, Martina.
Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama was one shot off the lead with four holes to play in his quest to win a gold medal at his home Olympics. But he missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole which would have given him the bronze medal. Instead, it forced a seven-man playoff for the final medal. The Japanese hopeful was eliminated on the first extra hole with a bogey.
Rory McIlroy, Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz were eliminated on the third playoff hole with pars, leaving C.T. Pan and British Open champion Collin Morikawa to fight for the final medal. Pan, representing Chinese Taipei, won it with a par on the fourth extra hole.
Canada’s Corey Conners carded a final round 65 to finish 13th, five strokes back of Schauffele. Teammate Mackenzie Hughes shot 75 and ended up 50th. Both were representing Canada for the first time at the Olympic Games.
England’s Daniel Gavins overcame a seven stroke deficit to win the ISPS HANDA World Invitational by one stroke over fellow Englishman David Horsey. For Gavins it was his first European Tour after never previously recording a single top-10 finish. New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier, who was tied for the lead before dropping shots on the 16th and 17th, finished tied for third with third round leader Jordan Smith, Alejandro Canizares and Masahiro Kawamura.
In the women’s event, Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn overcame a triple bogey on the sixth hole to defeat American Emma Talley on the second playoff hole. Along with Jennifer Kupcho, the trio reached the final hole in regulation in a tie but Kupcho bogeyed the 18th to finish outside the playoff. Both players made par on the first extra hole and Anannarukarn needed another par on the second playoff hole to win after Talley missed the green on her approach. Anannarukarn becomes the fifth first-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season.
NEXT EVENT: Hero Open (Aug 5) CANADIANS ENTERED: Aaron Cockerill
Turk Pettit shot a final round 67 to win the Birck Boilermaker Classic in just the third start of his professional golf career. Two months ago, Pettit was putting the finishing touches on a win at the 2021 NCAA Championship. Joseph Harrison missed a 10 foot putt which could have forced a playoff, leaving him alone in second place. The victory moves Pettit to the top of the Tour’s points list. The top five at the end of the season will earn membership on the Korn Ferry Tour. …Will Bateman posted his best result on the tour and second top 20 result in four starts. …Golf Canada Young Pro Squad member Joey Savoie recovered from rounds of 74 and 76 to card a final round 69 and maintain his top 10 points standing. He sits ninth and is the only Canadian in the top 10.
Jared du Toit
NEXT EVENT: Fuzzy Zoeller Classic (Aug 10) CANADIANS ENTERED: TBA
MACKENZIE TOUR-PGA TOUR CANADA
Brendan Leonard birdied three of the final five holes to overcome a five stroke deficit and win the Mackenzie Investments Open, the opening event of the 2021 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada schedule. Leonard was tied for the lead before making back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to finish two shots better than Sudarshan Yellamaraju and Marc Casullo. Blair Bursey led through each of the first three rounds but a final round 76 denied him a chance of going wire-to-wire, finishing in a tie for fourth with Keven Fortin-Simard. Other notable finishers: Jamie Sadlowski tied for 6th, Sebastian Szirmak tied for 8th, and Eric Banks tied for 12th. The top player on the final points list will earn full exempt status on the 2022 PGA TOUR Canada while second-through-fifth will earn exempt status up until the first reshuffle. Finishers six through 10 will each earn a sponsor exemption into a 2022 Mackenzie Tour event.
MIDLAND, MICHIGAN - JULY 18: Teammates Brooke Henderson (R) and Alena Sharp walk off the first green during round two of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational at Midland Country Club on July 18, 2019 in Midland, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
They were the Olympic rookies at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Five years later, Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp are Canadian Olympic veterans.
The Tokyo Olympics this summer will be Henderson and Sharp’s second Games together representing the red and white. With success in the LPGA apparent for both golfers in the five years since Rio 2016, both Henderson and Sharp revel in the opportunity to medal in Tokyo.
“I am honoured and proud to be a part of Team Canada this summer,” Henderson said. “I love representing my country and feeling all of the support of family, friends, and Canadian golf fans back home.”
Sharp turned pro in 2003 and is still going strong at age 40. With nine professional wins, Sharp continues to be a model of consistency for Canadian women’s golf on the LPGA Tour. Look no further than the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, where she started with two sub-70 rounds, before finishing a T-25.
As Sharp is on the backend of her career, Henderson is just beginning. She meteorically rose in the women’s game, winning the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016. Since then, Henderson has 10 LPGA Tour victories, making her the winningest Canadian golfer in the sport’s history (male or female).
As Henderson experienced a soar in popularity and success, she had her Canadian compatriot Sharp to lean on for advice and mentorship.
“It means a lot to share this journey with Alena again,” Henderson said. “She’s been a huge mentor and a great friend to me.”
Since competing in the Rio Olympics, Henderson and Sharp continue to elevate Canadian women’s golf with class and excellence. At the 2018 CP Women’s Open in Saskatchewan, Sharp brought awareness and respect to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, evidenced by her green and yellow golf bag. Henderson went on to cement her legacy at Wascana Country Club with a CP Women’s Open title, becoming the first Canadian woman to win the national golf championship since Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973.
Henderson’s first embraces were with her sister/caddie, Brittany, and her Dad, Dave. Sharp was the first to congratulate Henderson, spraying the champagne in celebration on the 18th green.
Whenever Henderson wins, it’s not long after she receives a congratulatory message from Sharp. Henderson also returns the favour, being there for her teammate during important moments of her life. For example, when Sharp got married last November to her caddie and partner, Sarah Bowman, Henderson included herself in the festivities.
It’s evident that the bond between Henderson and Sharp runs deep beyond the tee box, fairway, and putting green.
“We’re there to cheer each other on in the golf competition, but when you go to an Olympic Games, you become part of a bigger team,” Sharp said.
Competing in the Olympics will look different in 2021 than in 2016. For Henderson and Sharp, they will practice together at Kasumigaseki Country Club, scouting the course before the women’s golf competition commencing. Both Canadians will lean on their male counterparts, Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes, for advice, as the men’s tournament occurs a week before. The women’s competition takes place from August 4-7, 2021.
“Anything can happen over four days,” Henderson said. “You have to work hard, focus, get a good plan together and I’m just excited to have the opportunity to go and compete.”
Life beyond the course won’t possess the jubilation that exists in the Olympic Village. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no fans will be permitted on the course, as well as no friends and family. Instead, golfers must rely on their own energy to get motivated.
Henderson and Sharp are used to playing tournaments without spectators over the past year. Away from the course, they will keep themselves busy, whether that’s playing cards or watching Netflix.
The Tokyo Olympics are five years in the making for Henderson and Sharp. After a T-7 finish for Henderson and 30th for Sharp, they are looking to build on their performances to get on the podium.
Most of all, in an Olympics unlike any other, Henderson and Sharp will have their partnership and friendship, that will extend far beyond the outcome at the Games.
(Note: To purchase Team Canada fan gear, please click the link here)
Nelly Korda ties Women’s PGA record with 63 to take the lead; Sharp T3
JOHNS CREEK, GEORGIA - JUNE 25: Alena Sharp of Canada tees off during the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club on June 25, 2021 in Johns Creek, Georgia. (Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images)
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) – Nelly Korda realized there were low scores available Friday at Atlanta Athletic Club. For the longest time, she couldn’t find them in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
And then the birdies came in bushels, one after another, six straight to close her second round that put her in the record book with a 9-under 63 and gave her a one-shot lead over Lizette Salas going into the weekend.
“Golf is easy when you have days like this,” Korda said. “But it’s not always like this.”
It sure seems that way of late. Korda shot 62 in the third round last week on her way to winning the Meijer LPGA Classic, making the 22-year-old American the first multiple winner on the LPGA Tour this year.
This round might have been even better.
Over her final six holes on the front nine, Korda made birdie on both par 3s guarded in front by water. She had eagle putts on consecutive holes – one of them on the par-4 sixth, with the tee moved up to make it play 229 yards – and narrowly missed them both.
On the hardest hole on the course, she had to deal with a tree root in front of her ball to get to the green and then made a 45-foot birdie putt. Korda closed out her round with a pitching wedge into 8 feet.
She was at 11-under 133, one shot ahead of Salas, who hit all 18 greens in regulation, shot another 67 and has yet to make a bogey through 36 holes.
Korda tied the championship record, last set a year ago when Sei Young Kim closed with a 63 to win at Aronimink. She had the third round of 63 at Atlanta Athletic Club in a major, joining Steve Stricker in 2011 and Mark O’Meara in 2001 at the PGA Championship.
And Korda still has work left in front of her if she wants to win her first major.
Salas didn’t come close to a mistake with her steady diet of fairways and greens. That was her plan coming in, and the 31-year-old American has executed it brilliantly.
“I’m definitely satisfied,” Salas said. “We came in with some goals, and we’re reaching them. I think overall my attitude has been pretty solid. It’s a major. It’s supposed to be tough. It’s supposed to test you in several different ways, and I think I’m handling it quite well. And back-to-back 67s, I’m not going to complain.”
Celine Boutier of France drove the sixth green to 8 feet for an eagle on her way to a 64 that left her four shots back at 7-under 137 with Cydney Clanton (67) and Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (68).
Still lurking was seven-time major champion Inbee Park, rounding into form as she goes for another gold in the Olympics, who holed a chip for eagle and shot 68. She was six behind.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., – the 2016 winner – is even following a 2-under 70.
Korda, with five LPGA Tour victories, has never won back-to-back and spoke about how draining it was earlier in the year after she won at Lake Nona.
Having spectators on the Highlands course has helped, and she gave them plenty to cheer with her 10 birdies, which followed her lone bogey at the start of her round at No. 10.
She found them, including two reachable par 5s and the drivable par 4.
Korda’s big finish began with a 7-iron to 20 feet. She followed that we a 7-wood onto the green at the par-5 fifth – her caddie told her not to go at the pin, but she couldn’t resist – and then the 7-wood to the green at the reachable sixth and her best shot of the day, a 5-iron to 5 feet on the par-3 seventh.
The surprise was the big putt on No. 8, and the final birdie was the ideal way to close out a round like that one.
Korda isn’t one to linger on the previous week, even if it resulted in a trophy.
“They’re two completely different golf courses and two different strategies. It’s just good golf that I’ve been playing, and hopefully I can continue on with that.”
Maria Fassi lost two strokes to a penalty for slow play, turning a birdie into a bogey on the 18th as she made the turn. The former NCAA champion from Mexico had a 77 and she missed the cut by one shot.
Salas leads Women’s PGA and sees brighter days post-pandemic; Sharp T3
JOHNS CREEK, GEORGIA - JUNE 24: Alena Sharp of Canada putts on the ninth hole during the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club on June 24, 2021 in Johns Creek, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) – Lizette Salas was in her happy place Thursday, and not just because she kept bogeys off her card at tough Atlanta Athletic Club and posted a 5-under 67 for a one-shot lead in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Her game is rounding into form as the Solheim Cup approaches. That’s a big deal to her, too.
But the broad smile went well beyond golf.
The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the 31-year-old Californian, dulling her usual spark and creating anxiety that she initially mistook for nerves.
She had never talked about it publicly until Thursday, confident that the worst is behind her. She never spoke about it to her parents or coaches or support team. A Mexican-American with a hardscrabble road to the LPGA Tour, she attributes her stubbornness to talk about such matters to her Hispanic background.
“It was hard for me to even speak about it just because I felt like other people are going through the same thing. Why do I need to feel sorry for myself?” she said. “Over time, it accumulated and got worse, and when I finally got out here, it was just … so bad that the golf couldn’t help.”
One round wasn’t going to solve everything, and Salas saw enough of the Atlanta Athletic Club to realize it won’t be smooth sailing all week.
She led by one shot over Charley Hull of England, who had a 68 for the best score in the afternoon. What makes Hull happy is she’s going home on Monday after a month on the road, which preceded a seven-week stretch playing the LPGA Tour schedule.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp was in a tie for third following a 3-under 69, while 2016 winner Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., opened with a 2-over 74.
Jessica Korda and former U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 were in a group at 69, among nine players who managed to post scores in the 60s.
Nelly Korda, who last week became the first two-time winner on this LPGA Tour season of parity, was at 70 along with a trio of major champions, including ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit, who started with three birdies in five holes and closed with a pair of birdies.
Inbee Park, the seven-time major champion and Olympic gold medalist, played better than her score of 71, all because of one hole.
She had mud on her ball from rain earlier in the week, and it hooked some 50 yards left on the par-4 eighth hole, down an embankment and into the water. After a drop in deep rough to a short-sided pin, she conservatively went long to keep it rolling back down the hill, and she three-putted for triple bogey from some 70 feet.
Park atoned for that with a 75-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 71.
U.S. Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso and Lexi Thompson, whose back-nine collapse at Olympic Club three weeks ago cost her the Women’s Open, played with Park. Each shot 73.
Defending champion Sei Young Kim had a 76, while Michelle Wie West was at 77.
Salas had no such issues. She finished with a tough par putt, had no complaints with any part of her game and make a nervy par putt at the end to keep a clean card.
Salas spoke on days getting darker before it got light, and turning point was a month ago at the Pure Silk Championship at Kingsmill, site of her lone LPGA Tour victory in 2014. Her caddie from that win, John Killeen, is back on the bag. There were positive memories, good vibes.
“That just lit a spark in me,” Salas said.
She ended 18 straight tournaments of pedestrian play with a tie for fifth, added another top 10 last week in Michigan and is trending.
“I had to take care of my mental health, and that’s something that a lot of people don’t really take into consideration,” she said. “I think for me coming from a Hispanic background, it’s very hard to talk about that, but I’m very fortunate to have a team that was willing to bend over backwards to help me and to get me to where I am right now.
“I just understand myself more, and I’m at a point where I like myself again, even when days aren’t as good as others. It’s been a quite a roller coaster of emotions,” she added. “Here I am, and I’m playing much better. Just happy to be here.”
Salas spent her time during the pandemic staying off her phone and reading more books, which helped her to slow down life, decompress and get more sleep.
One of them was titled, “I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” which she felt like an autobiography. She also read a book about Mexican painter Frida Kalo.
“And when you look back at her history, she did things her way and enjoyed her own process,” Salas said. “So I’ve just been highlighting a few things here and there. It really … it puts me to sleep. It’s a win-win.”
And then she burst into a big smile, which had been missing for too long.
If you were to create your perfect golfer from tee to green using only Canadian golfers, whose driving abilities would you take? Whose putting skills? Whose silky-smooth swing? Let’s break down what the ultimate golfer might look like when comprised of some of Canada’s very best.
When it comes to hitting off the tee, it’s not hard to find a few names. One that comes to mind is Taylor Pendrith. Pendrith is currently one of the heaviest hitters on the Korn Ferry Tour circuit. For the 2020-2021 season, his average driving distance is 319.9 yards. Currently ranked fourth in driving distance on the Korn Ferry Tour, he is just over 4 yards off the first-place number. Back in September of 2020, Pendrith made his major debut at the U.S. Open where he finished third in average driving distance among some of the best in the world.
A decade ago, Graham DeLaet was making similar impact on the PGA Tour. In his first season back in 2010, DeLaet ranked sixth in driving distance with a 305.7-yard average. Between 2012 and 2017, DeLaet routinely ranked inside the top 40 in the same statistic. In 2013, DeLaet had the fourth longest drive on the PGA Tour that season, hitting one drive 420 yards.
If we’re talking about driving excellence, Brooke Henderson’s name must be there. For the past five seasons, Henderson has ranked inside the top 25 on the LPGA Tour for driving distance. Last season, she matched her career high ranking of eighth, with an average driving distance of 266.784 yards. However, she doesn’t just bomb the ball – there’s something to be said about her accuracy as well – Henderson ranked 35th for driving accuracy last season. Currently, Henderson is ranked sixth for average driving distance at 278.654 yards.
One of the best Canadians to ever play the game, Stan Leonard won three times on the PGA Tour and eight PGA of Canada Championships. At one point in the 1940’s, Leonard’s tee shots were already averaging 275-280 yards, according to a 1948 Maclean’s article.
On the LPGA Tour, Dawn Coe-Jones had enviable irons. Between 1992 and 2000, she almost routinely finished inside of the top 25 for greens in regulation percentage, and for the two seasons where she was outside, she was still in the top 60 on the LPGA Tour.
Over on the PGA Tour, Stephen Ames’s approach shots were also enviable. Between 2004 and 2008, Ames consistently finished inside the top 50 on the PGA Tour when it came to strokes gained: approaching the green. In 2004, he also finished 24th for greens in regulation.While on the PGA Tour Champions, between 2015 and 2019, Ames consistently finished inside the top 35 in greens in regulation. At his most recent win at the Principal Charity Classic on the Champions Tour on June 6, Ames led the field in greens in regulation with 87.04 per cent – nearly four per cent clear of Fred Couples in second.
Before Ames, there was Dave Barr. Between 1987 and 1994, Barr was consistently in the top 15 for greens in regulation percentage on the PGA Tour. In 1988, he ranked second with a 73.63 per cent average, and in both 1989 and 1992 he finished third.
One of Canada’s best current golfers, Alena Sharp has been playing on the LPGA Tour since the mid-2000’s and was a member of Team Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Over the course of her career, Sharp’s greens in regulation percentage have been impressive. Between 2007 and 2011, Sharp finished inside the top 50 on the LPGA in greens in regulation, and between 2007 and last season, she’s only ranked outside of the top 65 at the end of the season three times. She’s currently ranked 48th in the category this season.
It wouldn’t be a list comprising of some of Canada’s best golfers if Mike Weir weren’t on it. Currently on the PGA Tour Champions, Weir has the best sand save percentage out of anyone with 67.44 and is ranked at 15th in scrambling at 61.70 per cent. Between 2005 and 2014, while playing on the PGA Tour, Weir was ranked in the top five of sand save percentage four times. Twice, Weir had the best strokes gained: around the green number on the PGA Tour – in 2005 with .521 average strokes gained, and again five years later with .559 average strokes gained.
With two wins on the PGA Tour, Nick Taylor is one of Canada’s best current male golfers. In 2017, Taylor was ranked 58th in strokes gained: around the green, 33rd in scrambling, and 16th in scrambling from the rough. In 2018, Taylor was ranked inside the top 30 in scrambling and sand save percentage, and just last season, he ranked 21st in scrambling from the fringe.
With four wins on the LPGA Tour, Lorie Kane is one of the best Canadians to play the game. Between 1997 and 2005, Kane had some of the best greens in regulation statistics on the LPGA Tour – never failing to fall outside of the top 25, including sixth in 2001. Accompanying that, between 1997 and 2011, Kane also had some incredible sand saves statistics, finishing inside the top 25 six times and in 2011 she was ranked second with a 63.33 percentage.
Sandra Post is one of the most legendary golfers to come from Canada. Post was the first Canadian to play on the LPGA Tour, and won eight times. In an article from Maclean’s from 1968, Post herself says that putting is the best part of her game.
On the PGA Tour, Mackenzie Hughes’s putting is top-notch. In 2020, Hughes finished eighth in strokes gained: putting with a .681 average and had the ninth best overall putting average at 1.566. In 2019, Hughes sunk the longest putt of the season when his putt from 85’8” out found the hole. The year before that, he had the 16th longest successful putt, and in 2020 he held the 20th spot. He’s currently ranked third in avoiding three-putts with only 19 occurrences in 70 rounds of golf.
Adam Hadwin is another name that comes to mind when talking about putting. Back in 2016, Hadwin had one of the hottest putters on the PGA Tour. He ranked 11th in strokes gained: putting, fifth in putting average, 25th in one-putt percentage, and 12th in three-putt avoidance. In 2017, he ranked 26th in strokes gained: putting, and 11th in one-putt percentage.
Moe Norman is a legend in the golf universe. Known for his incredible golf swing, Norman had enviable accuracy that is still talked about today – nearly 70 years after playing in his first PGA Tour event.
George Knudson is another golf legend, and he achieved an incredible eight wins on the PGA Tour. And, like Norman, Knudson was known for having an incredible swing – playing a huge role in his accuracy.
Currently, Corey Conners is one of the best Canadian golfers on the PGA Tour and a big part of his success is due to is his accuracy. In 2020, Conners placed 20th in driving accuracy percentage and sixth in greens in regulation percentage. In 2019, he ranked 42nd in driving accuracy percentage and first for greens in regulation percentage. That season, when he did miss, it wasn’t by much – he ranked fourth in distance from the edge of the fairway with an average of 19’8”. Currently, he’s ranked 10th in greens in regulation, with 69.71 per cent.
With two wins on the LPGA Tour, Gail Graham is one of Canada’s best. Winning in 1995 and 1997 – Graham’s driving accuracy was consistently enviable. Between 1992 and 1997, Graham routinely ranked inside the top 60 on the LPGA Tour in driving accuracy. In 1996, she even ranked 21st.
So, who would you choose to create your ultimate Canadian golfer?
Amateur Megha Ganne holds share of lead at US Women’s Open; Henderson shoots 68
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 03: Brooke Henderson hits her tee shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the 76th U.S. Women's Open Championship at The Olympic Club on June 03, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – High school junior Megha Ganne shot a 4-under 67 on Thursday to become the first amateur in 15 years to have a share of the lead after any round at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The 17-year-old from New Jersey made back-to-back birdies on the back nine to take sole possession of the lead before making bogey on the 18th hole to end the day in a tie with Mel Reid on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club.
Ganne became the first amateur to lead after a round at the women’s Open since Jane Park did it after one round at Newport Country Club in 2006.
Ganne needed a playoff last month to qualify for her second career U.S. Open but felt much more comfortable once she got here than she did two years ago when she missed the cut.
“I think the first time is nerve-racking for anybody and meeting your idols and being on the stage for the first time,” she said. “But the second time around, even the practice rounds, I wasn’t as nervous. I felt like I could come here and just play my game instead of soaking that all in.”
She did just that up the road from Stanford where she plans to go to college after graduating high school next year. She birdied three of the first eight holes and made three more on the back nine to overcome a pair of bogeys.
She made one of her few mistakes on 18 when she hit her approach shot into a greenside bunker.
The notoriously tough Lake Course played a little easier than usual after the rough was trimmed a bit before the round. Fifteen players shot under par with Canada’s Brooke Henderson, and Americans Angel Yin and Megan Khang one shot back. Henderson three-putted from less than 20 feet on the 18th hole to fall out of a share of the lead.
Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Toronto shot a 76 and Noemie Pare of Victoriaville, Que., shot an 80. Megan Osland of Kelowna, B.C., withdrew.
Lexi Thompson, Yuka Saso and Shanshan Feng were two shots back.
Other notable players include defending champion A Lim Kim of South Korea, who struggled at 6 over, and 2014 champion Michelle Wie West, who shot 74.
This marked the first time the women came to the Lake Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean for a major. But this venue has a rich history for the men, hosting five U.S. Opens and three U.S. Amateurs among other events.
The course that played at 6,361 yards Thursday has traditionally played as one of the tougher ones despite having no water hazards and only one fairway bunker. Only four men broke par at the five U.S. Opens here, including none the past two times with Lee Janzen winning at even par in 1998 and Webb Simpson a 1 over in 2012.
Reid set the pace in the morning. The Englishwoman started at the ninth hole and hit her first two approach shots within 10 feet for birdies on the par 4s. She added birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, another on her second-to-last hole and had only one bogey all round.
“I didn’t think that score was out there honestly,” she said. “I had a pretty good game plan. It’s probably the best I’ve had for a tournament. We had a game plan and stuck to it. If you’re in trouble, just get it out, make bogey. I think the key here is to not take many risks the first two, three days, and I didn’t do that.”
Reid, who won her first LPGA Tour title last October to go with her six career wins on the European Tour, has had little career success at the U.S. Women’s Open. She missed the cut four of her previous five times at this tournament and finished tied for 50th in her other appearance in 2012.
Reid said she was helped by a couple of long conversations with two-time men’s U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka that she carried over into the round.
While Reid used a fast start to get to the top of the leaderboard, Yin finished strong by making eagle on the par-5 17th and birdie on the par-4 18th to get within one shot of the lead. The American’s 60-foot putt on 17 helped overcome back-to-back bogeys on the front nine.
One of the featured groups in the morning featured sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda, the daughters of 1998 Australian Open men’s tennis champion Petr Korda. Their parents took advantage of the grouping and got to watch both daughters at once.
Jessica birdied three of her first five holes before finishing at 72, while Nelly shot 78.
2021 CP Women’s Open cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 challenges
AURORA, CANADA - AUGUST 22: Tee Marker on the 15th tee during the first round of the CP Women's Open at Magna Golf Club on August 22, 2019 in Aurora, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER – Due to logistical challenges and continued border restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Golf Canada, title sponsor Canadian Pacific (CP), and the LPGA Tour have announced that the 2021 CP Women’s Open, scheduled for August 23-29, 2021, at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, has been cancelled.
Golf Canada had been working with local, provincial, and federal government health officials towards a comprehensive health operation plan for the tournament. With a decision timeline established, Golf Canada engaged a number of stakeholders to navigate the impact of current provincial restrictions as well as federal quarantine measures in effect, given the number of players and event personnel required to cross the border for the event.
Despite the disappointment of cancelling the 2020 and 2021 events, Golf Canada and CP have confirmed that Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club will pivot to host the 2023 CP Women’s Open, August 21-27, 2023. Both the Province of British Columbia and Sport Hosting Vancouver have already confirmed their commitment to support Canada’s National Women’s Open Golf Championship in its return to British Columbia.
CP also confirmed that they have extended their partnership with Golf Canada an additional year through 2024 which includes title sponsorship of the CP Women’s Open.
“Together with CP, the LPGA Tour, and our friends at Shaughnessy, we share in the deep disappointment of the players, volunteers, partners, and golf fans with the cancellation of the 2021 CP Women’s Open,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Even with our extensive health and safety plan, we continued to face a number of significant logistical challenges that led to this unfortunate decision for a second year. As we focus on moving forward, I want the thank Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club and the Musqueam First Nation as well as the Province of British Columbia and Sport Hosting Vancouver for their swift decision to get behind the event coming back in 2023 and we know that it will be an incredible showcase when we bring the world’s best golfers back to Vancouver. I also want to thank CEO Keith Creel and the entire team at CP for their continued partnership and meaningful support of Canadian golf.”
CP’s various charitable activities over the past two years have helped BC Children’s Hospital and Royal Inland Hospital raise over $2 million through different matching programs. BC Children’s Hospital, the primary partner, will use the funds for a fleet of new cardiac ultrasound machines, research, and support for a catheterization program and two new fellowships. Royal Inland Hospital, the community partner in Kamloops, will use the funds to redevelop and vastly improve the cardiac department of the hospital. CP continues to work with these charity partners to raise even more funds.
Among the contributing factors to the 2021 cancellation was the continued uncertainty around international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements that made it most difficult to move forward with the Canadian event.
“We are so grateful to CP and Golf Canada for their continued support of the CP Women’s Open and the LPGA Tour,” said Ricki Lasky, Chief Tournament Business Officer for the LPGA. “While we share in this disappointment, we have no doubt that Shaughnessy, CP and Golf Canada will provide our players with an amazing experience when we are together in 2023, and we look forward to working with these partners for years to come.”
The 2023 CP Women’s Open at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club will mark the sixth time the province of British Columbia has hosted Canada’s Women’s Open Championship, with the last time being in 2015 at The Vancouver Golf Club, where Lydia Ko won her third CP Women’s Open title.
For Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club Board of Directors and membership, pivoting to host the 2023 CP Women’s Open allows the club and its host volunteer committee to refocus on what is sure to be celebration of golf when the LPGA Tour returns to Vancouver.
“While we are disappointed to be postponing the CP Women’s Open once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will refocus our efforts and look forward to working with the Musqueam First Nation, Golf Canada, CP, the City of Vancouver, our fantastic group of volunteers, and other partners in preparation of hosting the best players in the world at Shaughnessy in 2023,” said Brian Mossop, General Manager and C.O.O. at Shaughnessy.
The rescheduled return of the LPGA Tour to Vancouver in 2023 will be proudly supported by both the Province of British Columbia as well as Sport Hosting Vancouver. With a global audience reach of over 500 million households across 170 international markets, both bodies are getting behind one of Canada’s signature sports entertainment properties as part of their revitalized tourism platform moving forward.
“I recognize how devastating it must have been for organizers to once again have to cancel the 2021 CP Women’s Open due to the continuation of Federal travel restrictions,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “However, with the majority of adults vaccinated and COVID-19 case counts steadily declining, I feel more optimistic than ever about B.C.’s restart plan and our ability to welcome the world back to our province once again. I would like to thank the entire CP Women’s open community for your unwavering commitment to the power of sport.”
“As a host destination we are thrilled for the opportunity to re-secure and host the 2023 CP Women’s Open,” said Michelle Collens, Director, Sport Hosting Vancouver. “Major events like the CP Women’s Open will be a critical part of our tourism and economic rebuild, making this great news for our future event portfolio, welcoming back international visitors and fans to Vancouver.”
With the 2021 event officially cancelled, tournament officials with Golf Canada and CP will turn their focus to the 2022 CP Women’s Open, which was previously confirmed to be hosted at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club August 22-28, 2022.
The fourth annual CP Women’s Leadership Summit, which was scheduled to take place on August 24 as part of CP Women’s Open tournament week, will be replaced by a digital experience focused on audience empowerment and inspiring guest speakers. Full details including a schedule and guest speakers will be released in the coming weeks. The Summit, which is a celebration of business leaders, influencers, and community champions, will continue to be part of the CP Women’s Open in 2022 and beyond. Golf Canada, CP and the LPGA Tour would like to thank golf fans across the nation in addition to the many corporate partners, ticket, and hospitality purchasers, as well as the countless volunteers for their continued support through this unprecedented time.
The stars of the LPGA Tour will challenge for the CP Women’s Open from August 22-28, 2022, at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club in Ottawa, Ont. Through its CP Has Heart program, title sponsor CP will once again make a substantial donation to the host community of Canada’s National Open Golf Championship by supporting local pediatric care. The 2022 CP Women’s Open is proudly sponsored by CP, Audi, RBC, Steam Whistle, Levelwear, Coca-Cola, Hilton, Ottawa Tourism, and the Government of Canada. For information on volunteer opportunities, tickets, or corporate hospitality, visit www.cpwomensopen.com or call 1-800-263-0009.
LPGA Board of Directors Elects Mollie Marcoux Samaan as Commissioner
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Mollie Marcoux Samaan speaks at the Up2Us Sports Gala 2017 at Guastavino's on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Up2Us Sports)
LPGA Tour Communications
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., May 25, 2021 – The Board of Directors of the LPGA has unanimously elected Mollie Marcoux Samaan as its next Commissioner. Marcoux Samaan, currently Ford Family Director of Athletics at Princeton University, will become the ninth Commissioner of the LPGA since its formation in 1950. She will succeed Commissioner Mike Whan who notified the LPGA Board late last year of his intent to step down in 2021. Whan was recently announced as the next Chief Executive Officer of the USGA. Marcoux Samaan will be working with the LPGA Board and the University to transition to her new role in the months ahead.
“Our selection of Mollie Marcoux Samaan as the LPGA’s next Commissioner is the outcome of an extensive and deliberate search process. The position attracted a diverse group of outstanding internal and external candidates, all passionate about the LPGA. We concluded that Mollie is the right leader to guide the LPGA’s next chapter of growth, impact and achievement,” said Diane Gulyas, Chair of the LPGA Board of Directors and the Search Committee.
“Mollie understands the power of golf to change the lives of girls and women. As a values-centered leader, she’s known for her skills in collaboration, managing through complexity and building a winning team culture. In every role, she’s had an outstanding record of performance in navigating change, forging lasting partnerships, and seeing – and seizing – new opportunities,” Gulyas said.
“Our search process was disciplined and thorough. We were impressed and honored by the large number of quality of leaders interested in the LPGA. But in the end, Mollie stood above the rest. We were impressed by her track record working with athletes; with her ability to forge new and innovative partnerships; and with her personal passion, authenticity and proven persistence for excellence,” said Juli Inkster, World and LPGA Hall of Famer and a member of the Search Committee.
“The LPGA Commissioner role is one of the best jobs in sports today and the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m passionate about the game of golf and have been an LPGA fan since I was a little girl. I appreciate the LPGA’s history and the tenacity of its 13 Founders. I’m truly inspired by our Tour players and teaching professionals. I’m excited to dive into the LPGA initiatives to impact women and girls in the game at every age and ability. And, to learn about and contribute to all aspects of the LPGA’s business,” said Mollie Marcoux Samaan.
“I believe passionately that sports have the power to change the world. And in this moment in time – with the positive energy around women’s sports, women’s leadership and society’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion – I believe the LPGA has an incredible opportunity to use our platform for positive change.
‘I’ve devoted my career to developing character, confidence and opportunities through sports. My mission and the LPGA’s mission are fully aligned: providing women and girls the opportunity to achieve their dreams through golf.
“Under the leadership of Mike Whan and the executive team, the LPGA is strongly positioned for continued growth and impact. I’ll look forward to working with Mike and the leadership team to meet the many people and organizations that have been so integral to the LPGA’s success. With its committed sponsors and fans, talented players and members, and exceptional staff and Board, my role will be to continue the positive momentum and increase opportunities, awareness, impact and respect for the LPGA worldwide,” Marcoux Samaan said.
Shu’s late eagle creates big swing in first career LPGA win; Brooke Henderson finishes tied for 10th
WILLIAMSBURG, VA - MAY 21: Brooke M. Henderson of Canada and her caddie discuss her second shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort on May 21, 2021 in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) – Wei-Ling Shu eagled the par-5 15th hole Sunday, creating a four-shot swing that gave her a two-shot lead, and won the LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Championship for her first career victory.
She closed with a 3-under 68 to finish at 13-under 271, two shots clear of playing partner Moriya Jutanugarn.
Jutanugarn had a 70. Jessica Korda was third at 10 under after a 70.
Brooke Henderson (67) of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished in a tie for 10th place at 6 under. Alena Sharp (71) of Hamilton, Ont., was at 1 under.
Shu’s eagle, aided by a fortuitous bounce that left her with a very makeable putt, came as Jutanugarn, who started the hole with a two-shot lead, drove into a bunker, needed two shots to get out, hit her approach to the edge of the green and three-putted for a double bogey.
And it all happened on the easiest hole on the course, again showing it can also be the decisive one.
The victory for the 26-year-old from Taiwan, in her 147th career start, was all but assured with another birdie on the par-4 16th that stretched her lead to three. And it came on a sweltering day on the Kingsmill Resort’s James River Course with parched fairways and greens that were fast and firm for all four rounds unusual for May in Virginia.
For much of the day, the battle for the lead was like a juggling act.
Jessica Korda pulled into a three-way tie for the lead with third-round co-leaders Shu and Jutanugarn with a birdie at the par-4 sixth while Jutanugarn bogeyed and Hsu made par. Korda went ahead two holes later with a par when her two playing partners bogeyed.
That sequence started a near-constant shifting of the lead, with Jutanugarn and Hsu getting back to a share of the lead after the 10th hole, and Sarah Kemp making it a four-way tie with a birdie on the par-4 12th in the group just ahead of the final threesome.
Hsu regained the top spot at No. 12 with a birdie while Korda fell two back, and then Jutanugarn enjoyed the same two-shot swing with a birdie at the par-3 13th while Hsu two-putted for bogey after missing the green.
Jutanugarn’s lead doubled with her third birdie in four holes on the par-4 14th, setting up the remarkable final lead-swap at 15.
Jutanugarn did sink a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th, applying some pressure to Hsu, but she rolled in a putt for par, pumping her right fist as it dropped into the cup.
Korda also birdied the 17th, leaving Shu with a two-shot lead heading the par-4 18th, but Korda bogeyed the 18th, leaving Jutaugarn alone in second and Korda third.
Kemp was fourth at 9 under after a 70.
The tournament, once among the most popular on the tour, failed to attract several of the game’s top players, perhaps because its purse of $1.3 million is third-lowest on the tour.
Sarah Kemp takes LPGA Tour lead at firm and fast Kingsmill; Brooke Henderson T14
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Sarah Kemp shot a 4-under 67 on Friday at firm and fast Kingsmill Resort to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend in the LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Championship.
“This golf course is made for me because I feel like I’m not long and I have a lot the wedges in, so I can’t imagine it being an advantage for the long hitters and I’m not a bomber,” Kemp said. “If I just hit it down the fairway, it’s firm and fast and they’re rolling out and I’ve had a lot of wedge shots. ”
Kemp rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 fourth her 13th hole of the day on the River Course with birdies on the par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth, holing a 20-footer on No. 8 to tie Stacy Lewis for the lead at 6 under and finishing with a par on No. 9.
The 35-year-old Australian is winless in her 14-season LPGA Tour career.
“I worked really hard. I was annoyed because I had hit the ball great for a couple years and I just didn’t convert the opportunities.”
Lewis scrambled for a closing bogey on the par-4 18th in a 69, dropping only one shot after driving into the water and having to re-tee. She was tied for second with Jessica Korda and Ana Belac.
“I’ve been working on my driver and it’s been really good this week up until this point,” Lewis said. “So, kind of just told myself to forget about it because I know I’m hitting it better than that, and hit a great second drive. Hit 8-iron in there to about probably 18 feet, and then just told my caddie when I made that putt, `That’s what I do. Just keep grinding.”’
The 35-year-old Lewis has 13 LPGA Tour titles, the last in the 2020 Ladies Scottish Open also in firm and fast conditions.
“I love it,” Lewis said. “You have to think about how far your drive rolls out, which bounce you’re going to get in the fairways. It’s thinking golf is a better way to put it. I love it playing like this. I mean, when it’s lush and green it looks great on TV, but I like playing this kind of golf better.”
Korda eagled the par-5 seventh and 15th holes in a 67. She made a long putt on No. 7 and holed out from 86 yards after laying up on the 15th.
“I really wanted to go for it in two, but they put the tee so far back with how firm it is there was no reason to even try to take on that pin,” Korda said about the 15th. “So I laid up and Kyle (caddie Morrison) and I were like, `It’s just a hard half-shot.? It landed exactly where we wanted and it and turned straight into the hole. I was like, `Sick!? So unexpected, but very welcome.”
The winner of the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, she also had four birdies and four bogeys on the course playing much firmer and faster than she expected.
“I honestly wasn’t prepared for this,” Korda said. “This golf course is always super pure, overseeded, soft, not what we are playing right now. It’s actually really tough to gauge wedge shots because the ground is so firm that it’s just bouncing off of it. I made a couple of mistakes with some wedges in my hand, but it wasn’t like it was a bad shot or anything.” Belac is making her second tour start of the year and fourth overall. The 24-year-old player from Slovenia shot 67, playing in the last group of the day off the first tee. She led Duke to the 2019 NCAA team title and won last year on the Symetra Tour.
First-round leader Wei-Ling Hsu followed her opening 66 with a 72 to fall two strokes back at 4 under in a group with third-ranked Sei Young Kim (71), Moriya Jutanugarn (67), Haeji Kang (68) and Wichanee Meechai (68),
Canadian Brooke Henderson had back-to-back birdies before bogeying the 17th and 18th holes and finished the second round with a 1-under 70. The native of Smiths Falls, Ont., sat four strokes back of Kemp, tied for 14th spot.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp ended the day in 68th place with a 2-over 73.
Jaclyn Lee of Calgary and Quebec City’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay did not make the cut.
Lexi Thompson bogeyed the final two holes for a 72 to make the cut on the number at 3 over. She set the tournament record of 20-under 264 in 2017.
Ariya Jutanugarn, coming off a victory two weeks ago in her home LPGA Tour event in Thailand, missed the cut with rounds of 70 and 77. She won at Kingsmill in 2016 and 2018.
Paula Creamer also failed to advance to the weekend, shooting 76-74 in her first LPGA Tour start since tying for 63rd in the BMW Ladies Championship in October 2019. Coming off wrist and thumb injuries, she also has an exemption into the U.S. Women’s Open in two weeks.