Creamer of the crop

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

It isn't a major anymore, but it has a major purse and is quickly growing into a major championship field.

On the heels of Michelle Wie, Karrie Webb and Morgan Pressel, another of the LPGA's brightest stars has confirmed her entry in the CN Canadian Women's Open this summer in Edmonton.

Twenty-year-old sensation Paula Creamer, who's shot up from 2005 LPGA rookie of the year to sixth in the 2007 world rankings, will try and add to her already impressive resume Aug. 13-19 at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club.

THIRD SEASON

Just a few events into her third year as a pro, Creamer is already 50th in the Tour's all-time money list with $2.9 million in career earnings. She won the 2005 Evian Masters, already has a win this season and posted 14 top-10 finishes last year. One of the poster girls for the LPGA, she brings serious star power to an Edmonton event that's going to have a lot of it.

"Our player field for Royal Mayfair is shaping up to be one of the strongest on Tour all year," said RCGA Women's Tournament director Sean Van Kesteren.

"Paula is one of the LPGA Tour's most recognizable superstars and we are pleased to receive an early commitment from her and add her to an already impressive group."

Dan Pino, manager of public relations for the Royal Canadian Golf Association, says Creamer won't be the last big name to throw her golf hat into Edmonton's ring.

"A lot of it has to do with the purse," he said of the $2.25 million pot, which includes a first prize cheque of $337,500, up from $255,000 last year.

"It's top 5 on the LPGA Tour now. With CN's commitment, including what they've done onsite with the players, just how the event looks and feels, it has that major feel. The players pick up on that.

"And the purse is what you'd expect to see in a major, so it's becoming a must-play event for a lot of the girls on Tour."

When tobacco advertising legislation forced Du Maurier out as a sponsor several years ago, the uncertainty cost the Canadian tour stop its major championship status, and much of its luster.

But since CN came on board last season, creating a first-class atmosphere and bumping a $1.4 million purse to $1.7 last year and $2.25 million this summer, Canada is back at the top of the list when players plan their schedules.

"They talk to each other and a lot of players, I'm sure, talked up last year's event in London (Ont.) quite a bit," said Pino.

"I would say it was an overwhelming success.

"When players ask each other what events are you playing this year, they're hearing 'You've got to play the CN event because they treat the players great.' "

BETTER SCHEDULE

The LPGA even took notice, giving Canada a much better space on the schedule.

"Two years ago it was right before the Evian Masters in Europe," said Pino. "That really hurt attendance. This is a much better date than being right up against an overseas event.

"It was a nice boost from the LPGA Tour to say if CN is committed to this event, let's make sure that their date is solid."

The deadline for players to confirm their intention to compete is Tuesday, August 7.


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