Post sees breakthrough for Canada

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Six of 19 Canadians managed to make the cut during this week's Canadian Women's Open at the London Hunt and Country Club.

Compare that figure to seven Koreans under par heading into yesterday's final round and 15 who played past the Friday chopping block to ensure themselves a paycheque for their week's work. All in all, that's a large chunk of the CN-sponsored event's $1.7 million purse heading back on the Seoul train.

The big question is how Canada, which has 400 players currently playing golf for U.S. colleges in the NCAA, can start peppering the pro tour -- and enjoy success in its own LPGA event -- with the same force as the mighty Koreans.

"It's a different culture, a different mindset, a different approach," said former LPGA Tour player and broadcaster Sandra Post. "I don't think we could ever compare ourselves to the Koreans. But I'd like to see Canada focus on its players that are already on the (U.S.-based) Futures Tour. With a developmental program (in Canada), that's great to have but it'll be five years before you see results."

Post teaches Oakville's Jessica Shepley, who lived the first few years of her life in London, so she knows the struggles of Canadians trying to build a pro career.

"On the Futures Tour, you're trying to make a name for yourself but you're not making that much money from the purse and you don't have the big sponsors yet," Post said. "The expenses are big but that's where your future players are. There are a lot of Canadians on that tour."

Besides the play of Lorie Kane, the most impressive Canadians here have been 36-year-old Kim Brozer, whose love for the game has kept her playing in places where the prize money is peanuts, and low amateur Laura Matthews of Essex.

"To play well here, that's just a boost of confidence," Matthews said. "Making the cut, that's a little different feeling because you've already accomplished one of your goals so then it starts over again with a little bit more nerve-wracking."

The opportunity for a player in the field on an exemption to play four rounds in an LPGA tour event is the best experience a Canadian player can get, so making the cut is of critical importance. Burlington's Salimah Mussani, who suffers from lupus but is one of Canada's top talents, got that chance and found out how much high-pressure golf her body can take.

"I found out I enjoy playing (on the weekend) and that I can play at this level," she said.

One of the unlucky factors for Canadian women's golf today is players who should be in their prime -- Mussani, Isabelle Beisiegel, A.J. Eathorne -- are trying to overcome physical hurdles in addition to improving their scores.

"I applaud those girls for going out there and doing their best, but golf is a sport where you need to be operating on all eight (cylinders) or it won't work," Post said.

But Post feels the lasting legacy of this event will be the effect on young girls who came to the course this week to watch the top players in the world.

"You'll see a big jump in southwestern Ontario in the future because of this tournament," Post said. "This will inspire those young girls. The Americans just went through a period where they had a lot of young, good talent come through and Canada will have its turn, too."


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