She's in the money

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

She's never played in a tournament as a pro before. And she's about to make some serious money.

"It didn't really hit me until I was playing the front nine today," said Amie Cochran, who sits at even par going into today's final day of the CN Canadian Women's Open.

"I just wanted to finally get into a tournament and prove to myself that I belong. I feel like I've proved that to myself now," she said.

Back when this week began, four girls won their way into the tournament in the Monday morning qualifier.

Local longshot Jade Polonich ended up missing the cut and finishing dead last. Former U.S. Amateur champ Jane Park, also didn't make it to the final two days of play.

But Cochran and Angela Jerman got through and won their way to a pay day.

SIZE OF THE CHEQUES

Today they determine the size of the cheques.

The tournament, fifth richest on the tour this year, pays $2.25 million U.S. and ranges from $337,500 for first to $4,219 for last.

If Cochran maintained her 39th place position, she'd take home $12,150.

Which is pretty decent for a player who showed up with 67 others Monday morning with long odds of even getting into the tournament.

Considering the winner of the Telus Edmonton Open made $24,000, she could match that by moving up to 22nd.

"I don't even want to think about the money. I wasn't thinking about money when I teed it up on Monday. I just wanted to have the experience. I'm here for the experience.

"It's been fabulous. I'm glad it was this tournament. I've really enjoyed everything about it.

"It's been so exciting. I'm never going to forget it."

She had had one other experience to compare, however.

"I played in the U.S. Open as an amateur two years ago, made the cut and finished 50th," said the Californian who has a white golf bag decorated with autographs she collected from the LPGA players during a rain delay in that tournament. Yesterday she signed more autographs after her round than she had on her bag.

QUALIFYING SCHOOL

She plans to go to qualifying school and win her way in as an exempt player and thinks this will go along way to inspiring her to do that.

Jerman spent three years as an exempt player and four years ago won $106,082 on the LPGA Tour.

Fifteen times since then she'd been forced to go through Monday morning qualifying to try get into tournaments.

This week was the first time she managed to do it.

She did get into a few as a non-exempt player when some of the stars didn't come out to tournaments this year - enough to win $5,629 to up her career earnings to $191,643.

She sits 69th. If that's where she ends up finishing she'll make $4,612.


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