Edmonton did itself proud

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Before CN Executive VP Stan Jablonski presented the Canadian Women's Open trophy to Lorena Ochoa he called it "probably the most successful LPGA event ever held in Canada."

Ochoa and runner-up Paula Creamer gave it their own rave reviews.

"I said all the time that this is the best tournament. The whole city is involved," said Ochoa. "I told my caddy it was only Tuesday and so many people were here and thenmore Wednesday and more Thursday ...

"I know you want to have a major back (in Canada) but to me this is already a major. I just know that this tournament is a major in everything - sponsors, the clubhouse, the golf course, the people and the media coverage.

"Everything has been like a major for sure.

"The crowds were amazing. Paula and I talked about it and we were like this is for sure a major tournament. It's just amazing.

"The first hole was surrounded by people. You don't see that very often.

"It was a very special week.

Creamer said it's not only like a major it's dead even with the biggest major.

"This would be like the equivalent crowd-wise to a U.S. Open. There were a lot of people out there today and this whole week. Lorena said it in the closing ceremonies.

"Monday I had 25 people following me at seven at night," she said. "I don't think I've ever had that before. And to come to an event where it's so focused on the event, it's phenomenal. I wish other tournaments were like that."

It broke all the records.

The CN Canadian Women's Open established new records for attendance, corporate hosting and money raised for charity.

Despite overcast conditions, forecasts for rain and the tournament leader going into the final day with a four- stroke lead, a crowd of 15,700 was on the course yesterday to give the event a total attendance of 64,850 and break the record of 61,000.

Local organizing committee chairman Don Sprague and committee sold $1.4 million of corporate skybox, tent, clubhouse and special viewing area seating to break the record of $1.2 million.

But the best record of all was the presentation of a cheque of $505,000 by CN to the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.

"The best part of this hugely successful tournament is being able to give back to the community which hosts it," said James M. Foote, CN executive VP. CN matches the amount raised during the tournament in various ways such as Wayne Gretzky and Cristie Kerr at the Pro-Am and in donations at the golf course during the event.

"After our fund-raising success last year at the tournament in London, Ont., we set an ambitious goal for Edmonton.

We're delighted the way Edmonton surpassed our expectations,"said Foote.

The event announced a total of $250,000 last year in London and ended up at $413,000.

The $505,000 isn't the final figure. There's more to come.

"How good is that?" said Rick Desrochers, COO of the RCGA.

"We have a formula where 50% of the bottom line profit goes into the promotion of the next tournament and 50% goes to the charity."


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