Sharp's torch run

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

Playing under a microscope and against one of the toughest fields of the LPGA season, Alena Sharp delivered.

The 26-year-old from Hamilton took another step towards inheriting the torch from Lorie Kane yesterday, saving the best finish of her professional career for the CN Canadian Women's Open.

"It was amazing, just walking down the 18th hole brought a tear to my eye," said Sharp, who went from unknown to a fan favourite in four short days.

Sharp earned a career high $42,275 for her 10th place finish yesterday.

"All those people lining the fairway to the tee ... There were so many people out here and everybody was cheering for me all day.

"Every time I walked up onto a green I got applauded. It was such a great feeling and I hope there's more of this to come for me and my career."

Keep shooting like this and there will be.

Sharp, the only Canadian in the top 40 when the weekend began, responded to the home-country pressure by shooting 67-69 on the weekend to move up 23 spots.

"It's going to definitely going to help my confidence," she said. "I know that I can be one of the best players out here. And playing alongside Karrie Webb was a real treat. I really enjoyed it, she's a nice lady."

She's worked on her mental game as much as her physical and it's starting to pay off.

"It's helped, especially this week,"she said.

"I didn't really feel nervous except for that last shot coming into 18 because I was in the rough and didn't know how the ball was going to react. I was really surprised at how calm I was today

"I just played my game, hit some great shots today. Had a couple of three putts but other than that it was a great round of golf. To do it on a Sunday here in front of the home crowd was an amazing feeling."

And to do it against the toughest competition this side of a major - 24 of the top 25 money winners (and 40 of the top 45) were chasing down the LPGA's fifth-highest purse - makes it that much sweeter.

"Being a Canadian in the Canadian Open, it doesn't matter how good the field is," said Sharp. "But this was a strong field.

"It adds fuel to my fire for the rest of the year."

Sharp had it to seven-under and a tie for fifth place through 16 holes, but a bogey on 17 dropped her a couple of spots.

She made a nice par on 18, though, clearing the pond with her approach shot and two-putting from about 35 feet.

"I'm glad I hit it over the water on 18, it would have been horrible if it went into the water. I was just in awe walking up to the green, that many people cheering for me. I've never had that before. It was a great feeling and I'll never forget it."

HARVEY-STYLE: Nancy Harvey closed in style, shooting a final round 68 that lifted her into a tie for 39th at one-under 283 (72-73-70-68). "I got pretty emotional early," said Harvey, who's moving into retirement. "I'm just really pleased with my round today."


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