Sep 1, 2011
Canadian Women’s PGA crown still up in air
Daniel Girard Sports Reporter
It was so much fun they’re coming back for more.
LPGA Tour regular Alena Sharp and amateur Anna Kim, a high-schooler, were locked in a dramatic playoff Thursday night at the 25th Canadian Women’s PGA Championship, matching each other shot-for-shot over six extra holes until darkness suspended play.
The pair were to resume the battle Friday at Bayview Golf & Country Club in Thornhill.
“We both hit decent shots, not anything perfect because we didn’t make birdie,” Sharp, a 30-year-old native of Hamilton, said after play was called for the night after each golfer made six straight pars. “But it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it out there.”
While the extra session was all about steady golf, Sharp hit a spectacular shot on the final hole of regulation to set up the sudden-death playoff. In the final group and trailing Kim by a shot, she hit her approach shot on the par-4 18th to within a foot and made birdie.
“It was unbelievable,” Sharp said of the shot which landed about 10 feet above the hole and spun back to just inches from the cup. “I knew I had to hit it close because I know that that green is not easy to putt on. I hit it right on my line.”
Kim, a 17-year-old Toronto native who has spent the past six years living in Arizona, had taken the lead on the final hole of the 36-hole event with a birdie. It capped a 5-under 68 on the picturesque 6,322-yard layout for a two-day total of 139, 7 under par.
“This is all new for me,” said Kim, who is about to start Grade 12 and has already committed to attend the University of Arizona next year. “I got a little nervous.”
It certainly didn’t show.
Despite facing a woman who turned pro in 2003 and has been on the LPGA Tour since 2006, Kim didn’t flinch. Sharp routinely outdrove her on the playoff holes but the teenager hit solid approach shots and made key putts, including a three-footer in the dark on the 17th to save par and force the pair back out to the 18th tee at 8 a.m. Friday.
No matter what happens, Sharp gets the $12,000 first-prize cheque because Kim is an amateur.
“She was very impressive,” Sharp said of Kim “She wasn’t rattled at all. “Not that I’d try to intimidate her but I thought she’d be a little intimidated because I play on the LPGA.
“But she probably doesn’t even know who I am,” Sharp said with a laugh.
However, Kim, who called Sharp “one of the best players in Canada,” said her experience of qualifying at last week’s CN Canadian Women’s Open in Mirabel, Que., better prepared her to handle the pressure of a playoff against an established pro.
“That was the first time I got to play with the professionals,” she said of last week, where she missed the cut. “I always watch them but that was the first time inside the ropes.
“I learned a lot and it was a good experience. So is this.”
Sharp took a two-shot lead into the second and final round after firing a women’s competitive course record of 6-under 67 on Wednesday. But the winner of two Toronto Star Women’s Amateur titles, a pair of Ontario junior championships, the Ontario Ladies and Canadian junior crowns, a string of U.S. collegiate crowns and two Canadian PGA Tour wins, couldn’t close it out, carding a 1-under 72 Thursday.
Sharp and Kim finished one shot ahead of Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., and American Sarah-Jane Smith, who matched Sharp’s course record with a 67.