Canadian hopes ride with Kane

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

"Did you come up here to play because of Lorie Kane?"

"How much of an influence did Lorie Kane have on you?"

"Do you get the sense that the other players are pulling for (Lorie Kane)?"

And so it goes at the Kane -- make that Canadian -- Women's Open championship.

Everything is focused on the Prince Edward Island native. She's the only Canadian with a legitimate shot at winning . . . in fact she's been the only Canadian with a chance to win the championship over the last five years.

Many give her credit for making this tournament the success it is. She cajoled, convinced and worked over her colleagues on the LPGA Tour until they committed to coming to play this event at the London Hunt and Country Club.

She worked with sponsor Canadian National Railway to sell the event. She's done a lot of backslapping and glad-handing. She can't get from Point A to Point B without facing a long line of autograph hunters. She'll sign as many as she can before having to move on to other commitments. There always seems to be one more thing to do.

Let's not forget she has the tournament to play -- one she would love to win.

Kane came off the 18th hole yesterday after finishing with a bogey.

She was directed by LPGA officials to a television interview and told she would be going into the media tent.

"I only have 10 minutes for the media," she told the LPGA official.

It had nothing to do with snubbing the media. It had everything to do with her desire to get back on the practice range and work on "a shape" of a shot she wasn't happy with, her second shot on 18, which wound up in a bunker.

On her way to the media tent she signed another 30 or 40 autographs. It made her even more anxious to get to work on her game.

Who could blame her?

She has invested a great deal of time and effort to make this tournament a success. She's playing well enough to win and she knows it, which puts even greater pressure on her. She needs to take care of her own business and concentrate on doing what she needs to do to win the tournament.

There's a sense there may not be many more chances for her to win her national championship.

She's four shots behind leader Angela Stanford. Cristie Kerr and Jee Young Lee stand between her and the leader. There's going to be nothing easy about climbing the leaderboard.

These are players who know how to play the game. Kerr is one of the better players on the tour and came to Canada because Kane convinced her to play here.

If Kane hadn't done such a good job selling this tournament to those players, it would have been a lot easier for her to win. But winning a neutered Canadian Women's Open is not something she wants to do. If you're going to win it, you might as well win it against as many good players as possible.

Kane says she hasn't even thought about winning the tournament yet.

"Way too early in the game for that," she said.

"I'm sticking with the process. And the process is the shot that I've got to hit right now, accept where it is and then carry on for the next one.

"There's still such a long way to go in this event that I am not going to get ahead of myself, nor am I going to let anybody get me ahead of myself."

The large contingent of fans who follow Kane every step of the course are doing enough "getting ahead" for her. Every drive she hits, the gallery wills it to land in the middle of the fairway. Every shot to the green, the gallery wills it close to the stick.

The longer she stays in contention the more she'll feed on the energy from the crowd. Conversely, the expectations will be enormous if she remains in contention through tomorrow.

How appropriate would that be? After doing everything she's done for this tournament, Kane brings record crowds through the gates by remaining in contention and maybe winning the event.

Talk about the ultimate sell job.


Videos

Photos