Lori's game is shaping up

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

They've been asking Lori Kane about you all season.

On the practice greens, on the driving ranges and in the locker-rooms, every time she turns around, another LPGA player wants a scouting report on Edmonton.

"What's it like? What are the fans like? Should I play there this summer?"

And Kane, the proud Canadian whose knowledge of sports in this country extends far beyond the boundaries of tournament golf, tells all of them to put Edmonton on their travel schedule this instant, they won't regret it.

"To play in front of the crowds that I know we'll have in Edmonton (at the Royal Mayfair) is going to be a lot of fun," Kane said after a practice round in New Jersey, where she's competing in the Sybase Classic.

"The players have been asking me about Edmonton all year, and I've told them it's a hockey town that understands sports, that appreciates a great tournament like the CN Canadian Open coming to their city and they're going to come out in droves."

The way the stars are aligning - Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb confirming already - it sounds like they believe her.

"We're going to have a field that'll be US Open quality," said Kane, adding Wie's presence illustrates just how much emphasis LPGA players are placing on Edmonton.

"She doesn't play many tournaments, so when she does pick one she understands the importance of it."

Kane was a rookie the last time she played a Canadian Women's Open here, at the Country Club in 1996. She tied for 36th at three-over, watching Laura Davies overtake Webb and Nancy Lopez with a final round 66 to win by two strokes (-11).

Eleven years later, she's still trying to capture a coveted homegrown championship.

"It's like wanting to win the Stanley Cup, it's that equivalent," said the 42-year-old, who's had three top eight finishes in the event, including a T3 in 2001.

"There's nothing that would make me prouder than to own our national championship."

She knows it'll be a circus when she gets here, just like it is every time she or Mike Weir tees it up in Canada, but she's getting used to it.

In previous years Kane, with over $6 million in career earnings, was one of the favourites at home.

Now, as she gets a little older and the pool of young talent on the LPGA circuit gets deeper, she's become more of a longshot.

She hasn't scored or finished very well at all this season; her best finish is T28 and she's missed three cuts in seven starts (more MCs than she had in 53 starts over two years in 2003 and 2004).

But she feels as good about her game as she has in some time after losing about 45 pounds and reworking her swing to her new body shape.

"I've worked really hard on myself physically over the last year and a half and now I think I'm getting to a point where I can reap the benefits of that," she said.

"I took a good look and realized I was the biggest person in my family. That indicated to me that I probably shouldn't be carrying this extra weight around. I figured if I didn't do something about it now, then in another two years I'd be saying again that I should do something about it, when it would be harder.

"It's been a challenge, but I had a mindset that I was ready to do it."

Now it's just a matter of the newer, slimmer Kane putting everything together in time for Edmonton.

"It's about planning and peaking at the right time," she said.

"You can't circle it on the calendar and say I'm going to win on Aug. 19, but you can definitely be prepared. And I'm working very hard.

"I'm going to do everything I can to put myself in a position to have an opportunity to win."


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