Countdown to the Women's Open

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

The London Hunt and Country Club is the site of the championship Aug. 10-13. The field of 156 LPGA players and Canadians will compete for a purse of $1.7 million US -- one of the largest in 2006.

Purse strings

The LPGA players are competing for a combined $6 million US in three successive events -- the Evian Masters this weekend in France, the British Open and the Canadian Open.

The Evian Masters purse is $2.5 million, the British is $1.8 million and the Canadian $1.7 million. On the remainder of the LPGA schedule, no purse matches the Canadian Open.

The 1970 men's Canadian Open had a total purse of $125,000.

Cowan's meltdown

The 525-yard par-5 is the signature hole, with its 51-yard-long green and water hazards, and has been the sight of some major meltdowns the last 46 years. The most infamous was in 1970 in the final round of the Canadian Open.

Kitchener amateur Gary Cowan, already in a sour mood when he arrived at the 10th tee (it played as the first hole during the tournament), became upset even more when "some jerk yelled, 'When are you going to turn pro?' as I was getting ready to play."

Cowan made a nine on the hole on his way to 79.

The hyper-sensitive Cowan was upset the RCGA had paired him with Canadian Gary Bowerman for the final round. Cowan figured he should have been playing with the leaders after shooting 70-71-71 the first three rounds.

After three rounds, Cowan was one stroke better than Kermit Zarley, who shot 67 the final day to win the championship and first prize of $25,000.

Conflict of interests

Rogers Sportsnet will have some viewer competition during the Canadian Women's Open. The Rogers Cup tennis in Toronto, featuring the world's two best players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, is on the same week. TSN has the tennis.

Canadian content

Seventeen Canadians, including Cheryl Mitchell of Walpole Island, have qualified, but four more could make it on Aug. 7 in final qualifying.

Canadians already in are Isabelle Beisiegel, Kim Brozer, Dawn Coe-Jones, A.J. Eathorne, Nancy Harvey, Lorie Kane, Corina Kelepouris, Mary Ann Lapointe, Laura Matthews, Kira Meixner, Lisa Meldrum, Lorna Miedema, Salima Mussani, Marie-Josee Rouleau, Alena Sharp, Jessica Shepley and Mitchell.

Mussani got an exemption for the first of her two Canadian Tour wins this year. The RCGA offered spots to the winners of the first three Canadian Tour events.


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