Mallon an honorary Canuck

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

Meg Mallon considers herself an honorary Canadian. With good reason.

The veteran golfer born in Natick, Massachusetts, who now resides in Ocean Ridge, Fla., has won the Canadian Open three times - including the last year it was a major.

It was then in 2000 at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, that Mallon made an emotional plea to keep the tournament as part of the LPGA Tour.

"It's always been a special event for me," Mallon said.

"I called everybody out because I knew what a great golf country this is and it would have been such a shame not to have the greatest women golfers playing in front of some of the greatest golf fans in the world."

The ban on tobacco sponsorship brought an end to the du-Maurier classic, and at the time, it didn't appear there would be anyone to take its place.

Because of that, the event lost its major status on the LPGA tour.

"It was sad, du-Maurier had been a wonderful sponsor for us, it had been a wonderful championship," Mallon said.

"It really was a unique and wonderful event. And to see it go away and possibly not have an event in Canada was a shame to me. It's a country that's golf-starved and golf-loving and certainly by not having access to see the best women golfers in the world was sad."

The Bank of Montreal took over sponsorship of the tournament and Mallon went on to win two more Canadian Open events. She won in 2002 at the Summerlea Golf and Country Club in Montreal and again in 2004 at the Legends on the Niagara.

In August, Mallon will be looking for her fourth title as the CN Canadian Open takes place at the Royal Mayfair.

"I don't know why I play so well in Canada, I hope it's always there," Mallon said.

"I think I enjoy the courses that we play. I think it's fun to play in front of the fans that appreciate golf and know golf. I'm a northerner.

"I'm comfortable with this kind of grass, the weather and the mosquitoes."

Yesterday Mallon, 44, was in town along with a number of other competitors taking part in this year's event for the announcement of a partnership with the Stollery Children's Hospital. CN, which took over title sponsorship of the event last year, will donate a minimum $100,000 to the Stollery with the introduction of their CN Miracle Match program.

Mallon, Lorie Kane, Morgan Pressel, Christina Kim, Dawn Coe-Jones, Alena Sharp and Cindy Pasechnik all played a round at the Royal Mayfair yesterday.

By all accounts, the course was in great shape and the players were all looking forward to returning in August.

"This is a great golf course," Mallon said. "We're actually benefiting from technology. The guys are hitting it so far that they're not able to play the classic golf courses anymore and we're getting an opportunity to play these great golf courses."

Mallon has 18 career LPGA victories, including four majors. She is currently ranked fifth on the LPGA's career money list and has played on eight Solheim Cup teams. She hasn't won a tourney since claiming three titles in 2004. But the Canadian Open always seems to bring out the best in her.

"Every week I try and get my game going," she said. "But I know now that I've played this golf course that I'm going to have to have all my game coming into the week and that's incentive for sure.

"It'll be a fun event and I think this is going to be a good venue."


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