Toledo Blade, 7/16/2015, Rachel Lenzi

b0df3de6-b69d-4469-b497-539abfbb2319Alena Sharp arrived at the home of her host family in Maumee and couldn’t help but notice the palpable difference in the environment.

Her friend was absent from the comings and goings of daily life. Erin Lynch wasn’t helping her mom make meals for the family, nor was she challenging Sharp to an impromptu wrestling match.

When Sharp returned to northwest Ohio to play in the LPGA Marathon Classic this week, she did so with a heavy heart. Lynch is at a rehabilitation facility in Waterville, continuing to recover from a May car accident in which she sustained a brain injury.

“It’s more emotional this year for me to be here, because of the accident,” Sharp said. “Ken and Tami [Lynch], they’re like my second parents. We always talk. I keep in good touch with them and I’ve become part of their family. I check in every day to see how Erin is doing, and it’s very sad. I feel like she’s my little sister.

“It’s very important for me to be here.”