Kane is definitely able

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Now that the promotional work is done, the sponsors satisfied and players on site, the lone remaining responsibility for the great ambassador of Canadian women's golf is to play the game.

But that approach runs against Lorie Kane's grain. It's not in her personality to turn the tunnel vision on and treat the Canadian Women's Open, being played this week at the London Hunt Club, as some random LPGA tour stop. Too much of her own sweat and effort over the years have gone into making the tournament a success.

"This is our open championship and I know every fan out there wants a Canadian to win and I want that person to be me," Kane said.

"I would love nothing better than to carry that trophy on Sunday over my head. But all I can do is put the peg in the ground and hit the first tee shot and then chase it around for four more days."

Yet there are reasons why the outgoing ball-hitter from Prince Edward Island is on the LPGA's executive committee and among the more popular players in the clubhouse.

After her practice round yesterday, she signed a long line of autographs, talked to one young fan about how a piece of merchandise would be improved for next year's tourney and asked a passing player if everything -- accommodation, transit, conditions -- was above par.

Ten under or 10 over on the scorecard, it surely won't be the last time Kane does things like that this week.

"My dad and my mom, Jack and Marilyn, always taught me, 'Leave whatever you do better than you found it,'" she said.

"I have a responsibility to the game. I have a responsibility to the tour. I have a lot of responsibilities. But I also have a responsibility to myself, and that is to be the best player I can be and to put the best game I can on the golf course."

Many feel if she sheds some of those responsibilities, Kane could actually pull off the first Open victory on home soil since 1973. Six years ago at Royal Ottawa, Kane gave herself a glorious chance to win but struggled on Sunday on a week when she ramped up her efforts to help the tournament find a new sponsor.

"To go back to the Ottawa experience, I didn't take that very well because I tried too hard to do a whole lot of too many things, and I lost that tournament because of it," she said. "I've worked hard on my game and myself. For people to acknowledge my hard work and follow me, fellow Canadians or not, it's a real honour to represent them and myself and the country and to try to play the best golf I can."

Years ago, Kane said she adopted some advice from fellow Canadian Dawn Coe-Jones to enjoy this tournament: feed off the love from the crowd and subtract the mounting pressure.

"Now that we are under strong support with this tournament, now I can just go play," she said. "I don't need to work very hard anymore to get players to come."

She still will, of course, because that's what you do when you want to leave things better than you found them.


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