Goodbye, Hello and Welcome Home: Generations of Canadian Golfers Converge on Ottawa
It takes a lot to wear a Maple Leafs jersey in Ottawa and get cheers.
But that’s exactly what happened when Lorie Kane donned the blue and white jersey on the 17th hole, dubbed « the rink » at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, Friday at the CP Women’s Open.
Kane, 57, was in the final stages of his iconic tournament career, which began in 1991 and was about to officially end.
Then, as the Charlottetown native headed down the 18th fairway, she glanced to her right.
« I was catching Brooke [Henderson] coming down 16, so I was focusing on ranking and trying to get a glimpse of how she did. So it was special, » Kane said.
In front of Kane were two stands, along with many more lined up outside the green, waiting to cheer on the Canadian golfing legend.
WATCH | Kane says goodbye to the CP Women’s Open:
Meanwhile, back on the 10th, 12-year-old Lucy Lin was just preparing to start her second round, with an outside chance to qualify.
A total of 19 Canadians have converged on the nation’s capital for the 2022 National Open, where the past meets the present and the future.
« I think there’s a lot of really positive things happening in young women’s golf here in this country, » Kane, who missed the cut, said after her round on Friday.
« And again, it’s because we put the money in, pardon the expression, where our mouth is, and get the support that needs to be gotten or given to young golfers. »
Henderson less than 5 years
Henderson is the star people have come to see in Ottawa – unfortunately only attendees got to see her on Thursday, as none of her tours have been shown live on television in Canada.
On Friday, the problem was corrected, as TSN aired Henderson’s entire tour.
« I feel like it’s just kind of progress in women’s football, » Henderson said. « Here in Canada, I feel like I’m so loved and supported and I feel like the fans are really supporting me, so that’s pretty cool. »
For the second day in a row, Henderson left the course with a bogey on her last and feeling she could have done better. She birdied the buzzer-beater on the second hole, rolling in a putt just as the horn sounded to suspend play due to rain. The delay should push the end of the second round to Saturday morning.
But with the native of Smiths Falls, Ont., sitting at 5 under, and point guard Narin An of South Korea at 13 under, the incline is steep.
« It’s not the position I wanted to be in, but I play on weekends and I have amazing crowds and amazing fans here cheering me on, so I feel like if I can do a few birdies early, I can build momentum, » Henderson said.
WATCH | Henderson lingers in Ottawa:
If Tour rookie An holds out, she would become the third Korean to win the last four editions of the tournament, after Jin-young Ko in 2019 and Sung-hyun Park in 2017.
« I don’t have winning experience in the United States, but I have some experience in Korea, so it’s not an unfamiliar feeling at the moment. I hope to get some good results in the next couple of days. « said An.
Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., was also expected to be selected. The 26-year-old said on Thursday that the spotlight on Henderson helped ease some of the pressure.
« I think you encourage all Canadians. You want everyone to succeed, » she said.
While an LPGA Tournament featuring many big names and top players was on the line, the event was also something of a celebration for the Canadian contingent.
That was truer for Kane than anyone else, who made an obvious effort to soak up the atmosphere, even bowing to the crowd at one point as the sky seemed to open up just in time for his last hole.
Kane was paired with the 41-year-old Sharp, who like Henderson wore shoes with the maple leaf on them.
« One of those Canadians you just want to cheer on and I wanted to help, » Kane said of Sharp. « I think she has so much game left, it’s not funny. So I told her she had to go on and keep working hard. »
Lin, of Vancouver, played in a group with 33-year-old Maude-Aimée LeBlanc of Sherbrooke, Que., who recently placed in the top 10 at the Scottish Open.
Monet Chun, a native of Richmond Hill, Ont., who arrived in Ottawa after reaching the final of the US Women’s Amateur Open, was also unlikely to play until the weekend.
You could call him the golden generation of Canadian golf – really, Henderson’s numbers alone (12 wins, including two majors) get you most of the way there.
On the men’s side, two Canadians could make the Presidents Cup squad, made up of the best non-American and non-European players, for the first time ever. Corey Conners has already secured his place, while Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin are firmly in the hunt.
Combined with growing fan interest throughout the pandemic, the sport has perhaps never been in a better place.
Separated by 45 years, it was goodbye for Kane and hello for Lin in Ottawa.
And in the middle was Henderson, greeted by a crowd eager to watch their local hero.