Kane face of Canadian event

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

In the whirlwind following yesterday's dramatic finish, great Canadian golf hope Lorie Kane ran to the fringe of the 18th green at the London Hunt Club and raised her arms like a hockey player celebrating a last-second winning goal.

The joyous gesture was aimed at 2006 Canadian Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr, who quickly returned the action of her pro golfing friend with a wide grin.

Say this for Kane, she played herself out of contention with a disappointing final-round 75 yesterday but she's still a major part of the tournament story -- even, in the end, as a fan.

It's been well-documented Kerr only rolled into London this week because of Kane's ability to sell this event to her fellow LPGA Tour players. Even in defeat, the Charlottetown native will remain -- as long as she plays at a high level -- the face of the Canadian Women's Open, the pitchwoman for the title sponsor and the magnet that helped attract record crowds.

In a testament to how the universe often finds an appropriate way to unfold, Kane was Kerr's playing partner the final two days of the tournament, giving the eventual champion maximum interaction with a massive gallery.

"It was such a pleasure to play with Lorie for the last two days," Kerr said. "I have tremendous respect for her and her accomplishments. She's an amazing person and she does a lot for the tour."

Kane came here looking to do a lot for herself, with visions of beating all the quality players she invited. Even in defeat, she continually spoke about how she feels better every year about her chances of finally winning in Canada.

"I'm taking a lot from this week into the rest of the year and there's too many things going good for me to be thnking about anything that's not going good," she said. "I thoroughly enjoyed myself here. I'm going to take three days -- the rest of (yesterday) and tomorrow in Ontario and then head out West for a day before I go to Portland (Oregon). That's a three-day event so I don't have to be there until Thursday, for the pro-am.

"Then, I'll go to Columbus to hang out with my hockey buddies."

Those puck pals include Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean and head coach Gerard Gallant, both P.E.I. natives like Kane.

On a day she needed to conjure some magic to challenge for the title, Kane's round started with a terrible bunker lie that forced her into a momentum-killing bogey. While Kerr racked up a string of birdies, Kane couldn't keep up.

"Had I gotten a couple of breaks to go my way early, I think I would've been able to feed off that," Kane said. "Unfortunately, it just wasn't my day."

So as Kerr headed to the range to prepare for a playoff, Kane began her final signing session.

"I'm signing all of them," Kane told her handler.

She lived up to her word and finished the autographs just in time to hear that Kerr was the winner after Angela Stanford's notable collapse.


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