Stars expected at Priddis

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Tournament director Sean Van Kesteren and the rest of the minds behind the 2009 CN Canadian Women's Open set their sights sky-high.

Turns out, the stars were within reach. The Royal Canadian Golf Association confirmed yesterday the top 50 players on the LPGA Tour money list, including the top 20 players in the world rankings, will tee off Aug. 31-Sept. 6 at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club.

"It's the strongest field on the LPGA Tour this year, so we're pretty excited about that," Van Kesteren said. "To reach that target is a great feeling. We know the spectators and fans that come out will see the best of the best in the world."

The star-studded field features future Hall-of-Famers Laura Davies, Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb, plus a handful of young phenoms headlined by Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

The dozen U.S.-born players who teamed up for last weekend's Solheim Cup triumph at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., have also confirmed their attendance, while eight members of the European squad will compete.

Charlottetown's Lorie Kane, Hamilton's Alena Sharp and Calgary-born AJ Eathorne of Penticton, B.C., lead a list of 11 Canadians trying to capture their national championship.

The 2009 CN Canadian Women's Open boasts a US2.75-million prize purse, making it the most lucrative full-field event on the schedule this season, but Van Kesteren insisted that's not the only selling point.

"The players love coming to Canada," he said. "Canada is a great place to play any sport, and golf is no exception."

It's been a decade since the LPGA Tour made its last stop in Calgary. The pros also converged on Priddis Greens for the 1999 Du Maurier Classic, when Webb outduelled Davies for a two-stroke victory and her first major title.

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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