Flapping flag likely cost Kane her home victory

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

The way it looks now, Lorie Kane is going to have to run up the white flag.

Her dream of winning this year's Canadian Women's Open is gone, some would say in large part because of an orange flag.

Such are the vagaries of the game of golf.

Most athletes practise their craft in front of large hordes of screaming, vitriolic fans.

But given the level of concentration needed when it comes to club-striking-little-white-ball, a clicking camera, a buzzing cellphone, a gurgling stomach, a uncontrollable urge to sneeze, pretty much any sound at an inopportune moment could cost a player vital shots and maybe a tournament.

It's hard to say whether yesterday's 12th hole cost Canada's best hope for a tournament win, a shot at this championship. Up until then, Kane was playing solidly but couldn't drop any putts and didn't look like she was making any inroads on leader Angela Stanford. No matter what happened before she drove the ball on 12, Kane might never have done enough anyway.

But there's no doubt after she walked off the 12th green that the championship was going to someone else.

As she teed off on the 12th, an orange marshall's flag distracted her. It may have flapped in the wind or caused a shadow or whatever. By the time the orange flag had done its damage, Kane was seeing red.

Normally players will ask the marshalls to move so the flag doesn't catch the players' eyes when they are in their swing. Kane didn't do that and wound up hitting the ball into trouble. She yelled at the marshall but after the round apologized for her actions. Kane wound up taking a double-bogey to fall to four-under for the tournament. Kane finished the round at five-under, eight-shots behind Stanford.

It would have been such a great story. A Canadian who has done so much to make this tournament a success actually being in the hunt the last day and sending Canadian golf fans into a frenzy. The fairytale would have had Kane sink a 20-footer on the last hole to win the event.

Forget that ending.

Instead, Kane will have to be satisfied with all the work she's done, the success of this tournament and the fact she can still finish high up on the leaderboard.

It's not much consolation but it's also a testament to just how hard it is for a Canadian to win this event, especially if they happen to be in contention on the weekend. The pressure is ratcheted up with every shot and every mistake.

There was a question about the quality of the field that wound up playing here. Without Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Lorena Ochoa, Juli Inkster and Karrie Webb this tournament was missing many of the LPGA's high-profile individuals.

But the players who have come have shown they are tough competitors. Stanford opened with an course-record eight-under and was immediately made the rabbit with everyone chasing her. She's held things together as the course has gotten tougher and the pressure was being put on by a number of players.

Defending champion Meena Lee showed her toughness. On a difficult day, she shot six-under and is four shots behind. She'll be in the last group and it's going to be a battle of mental toughness as much as shot-making.

"Last year, I wasn't in the last group," she said. "I was catching up to the leaders and then other players were in front of me. It was my first win, so I was uncomfortable playing my game to catch up.

"But now I have two wins under my belt and I am defending my title, so I think I'm a little more comfortable than last year and getting better."

You have to learn how to win, respond to pressure and to adversity.

"It's extremely hard (to win at this level,)" Stanford said. "You have to get the bounces."

And the flags blowing your way.


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