Inkster, Hunt Club get reacquainted

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

Juli Inkster's memories of the London Hunt and Country Club came flooding back yesterday.

"I was here in '93, but what a blur," said the winner of 30 LPGA Tour events, including seven majors. "I had my two-year-old and I was pregnant. I was busy."

Her now 12-year-old daughter Cori was with her yesterday.

Inkster said she didn't remember much about playing at the Hunt Club until she walked into the clubhouse yesterday morning and saw a leaderboard from the 1993 duMaurier Classic. Brandie Burton won the championship in a playoff.

She got reacquainted very quickly. She played the course yesterday with six other LPGA players.

"It's a great course," she said. "You've got to dial it left and dial it right. There's great bunkering. It's a great ball-striker's course."

She said if they roll the greens and firm them up at tournament time, they'll be tough. She also noticed there were several blind shots, including second shots to the greens on the par-four third and fifth holes, that require course knowledge.

Inkster will be back for the CN Canadian Women's Open Aug. 10-13 and after playing yesterday she could hardly wait to tell other LPGA players about the Hunt Club. Inkster predicts most Americans and the strong Korean contingent will all show up.

However, she said the Europeans will probably play in Annika Sorenstam's tournament in Sweden or stay in Europe to earn Solheim Cup points rather than return to North America after the British Open ends Aug. 6.

Third on the LPGA's all-time money list, Inkster bases her tournament schedule mostly on family needs. She's also aware that supporting the Canadian Women's Open and new sponsor Canadian National Railway -- which stepped in after BMO withdrew -- are important.

"I'd like to see it back to where I think it should be and the way it was," she said. "I like playing championship courses and this is a championship course. You need to play championship courses and get the word out to the players."

The $1.7-million purse isn't important to her, she said.

"The purse . . . that's probably the last thing I go by. If you asked me what the purse is, I wouldn't even know. I go how it fits in the family cycle, then the golf course."

She also has to like the city and its attractions.

She got her first taste of London Sunday night, flying in with her daughter from the LPGA event in Williamsburg, Va., to support her friend Lorie Kane. She stayed at a downtown hotel and picked up some quick geographic pointers about London and area.

A San Jose, Calif., resident, Inkster said she already knew Joe Thornton was from London (he was born in London, but lives in St. Thomas). She watched two periods of the San Jose Sharks-Edmonton Oilers game before going to bed. She found out in the morning her Sharks had lost. But, she added, they outlasted Meg Mallon's and Lorie Kane's Detroit Red Wings.

Inkster said she'll have a family game plan when she returns in the summer, with Cori and her 16-year-old sister Haylay.

"I know they have rowing and a lake (nearby)," she said.


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