Canada's last champ: 1973

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Anyone wishing to put our home country drought into perspective need only know this: The last Canadian to win the Canadian Women's Open just turned 60.

She's actually the one and only Canadian to ever win our national championship, a slump that enters its 34th year when the LPGA Tour rolls into Royal Mayfair.

"Some players have come very close, like Dawn Coe-Jones and Lorie Kane," said Jocelyne Bourassa, who won her title in a dramtic three-hole playoff in Montreal in 1973. "But there's a lot of pressure on the Canadians. Those are still great players, though, because they won other events in the world. Gail Graham, Dawn Coe-Jones, Lorie Kane. I only won one event, they've won multiple events."

But Bourassa's was one for the ages, starting with a final-round comeback and a long-distance putt on 18 to get into a playoff with LPGA Hall of Famers Judy Rankin, now an ABC golf analyst, and Sandra Haynie.

"Some people say it was a 20-footer but to me it felt more like a 30-footer," laughed Bourassa, who still plays, hosts clinics and teaches young players. "I saw the line the whole way. You talk about being in super concentration."

She'd need it. There's always pressure when the Canadians play LPGA or PGA stops Canada, but this was a French Canadian going for the title in Montreal, during the political upheaval over language and culture issues in Quebec.

"It was incredible, it was like I was at the Forum," said Bourassa, in a duel for the lead for the entire final round. "It felt like I was a hockey player. I remember they had to have me escorted. Even though there were no ropes along the fairways in those days, they assigned people around me with ropes so I would be able to move from one shot to another."

Gulp!

"You always wonder how you're going to play in front of your home crowd. I was so nervous. There was a friend in Quebec who I confided in. I told him I don't even know if I'm going to be able to draw the club back. He said 'Jocelyne, once you start walking on the fairway, everything is going to be fine.'

"He was so right. I was in a very special world. My concentration was peaking, and the crowd was so supportive, it helped me elevate my game to a level I did not know I could do, achieve greater heights than I ever thought I could."

After the putt on 18, it was down to Rankin, Haynie and Bourassa. Rankin bogeyed the second hole, leaving a two-woman showdown for the title. The gallery could have powered a city with its electricity.

"On the third hole, a par 5, you had to go over water between the first and second shot. Sandra hit it in the water and the people cheered. I was so, so embarrassed. I went to her immediately and apologized to her. It was quite the distraction for me. I had to regroup and make my own shot. At that point I really became nervous."

She closed the deal, posting her one and only LPGA victory and bringing a city, province and country to its feet.

Bourassa left competitive golf in 1979 to rest her knee rather than have a third invasive surgery. She coached several years at Arizona State University, mentoring the woman who would go on to become Annika Sorenstam's coach.

She also worked as tournament director for the du Maurier Classic and worked on the du Maurier Series, a development program that spawned the likes of Kane.

She hasn't decided yet if she's coming to Edmonton.

"Sometimes going back to an LPGA event that you not only won, but helped develop can bring back a lot of memories and maybe some tears, joyful moments," she said. "We'll see."


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