Shooting stars fuel fan frenzy

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

The LPGA stars aligned themselves yesterday at Priddis Greens.

There was a healthy Paula Creamer -- much to the relief of golf fans -- preparing on the practice tees for the 2009 CN Canadian Women's Open.

There was Morgan Pressel, honing her game on the driving range.

There was Christina Kim, showing the kind of vibrant spirit that has made her a sudden fan favourite in LPGA circles.

And all were busy embracing a hot afternoon and interacting with a throng of fans who made the 25-km trek just to watch golf's top women practise at the private track southwest of Calgary.

"I am surprised," said Pressel of the frenzy that followed her around just minutes after her arrival at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club yesterday.

"And I want to know the secret, because we could use this at other events."

Certainly, the buzz was big three days before the 72-hole event tees off Thursday.

While some of the circuit's players trickled into Calgary over the weekend, most of the others made their way yesterday from Portland, Ore., where the LPGA's Safeway Classic wrapped up Sunday.

The tour's Top 50 players are here in hopes of winning the title at the $2.75-million tournament.

Pressel and Creamer are among the biggest names in women's golf, and their star power was recognized by fans -- both young and old -- seeking autographs on their hats, in their programs and for their autograph books.

Creamer, who was sick last week and withdrew from the Safeway Classic, seemed to be enjoying her early hours at Priddis Greens.

"I'm feeling a little better," said Creamer, amid signing autographs. "It's hot here."

Added Pressel, "The course looks gorgeous. And everybody is very nice."

Young Claire Boswell thought the same of the heroes she came to see.

The 12-year-old Calgarian, a junior golfer at Silver Springs, had all the players sign her autograph book on the 17th tee, and Canadian star A.J. Eathorne even took time out to put her name to a ball and personally deliver it to Claire.

"That's what we're here for," said Eathorne, a native Calgarian, who was among 18 LPGA players competing in a women's-only pro-am yesterday at Priddis Greens.

She then turned to Claire and asked, "Are you going to be out here one day?"

The youngster smiled and nodded before answering with a polite "yes."

"I'm just meeting all the players and seeing how their swings are," said the 12-year-old.

"It's fascinating. I want to try and copy what they're doing."

Meanwhile, Kim was busy showing the kind of spirit -- giving fist-bumps with her best-ball partners and having fun with a gallery of fans following her -- reminiscent of her enthusiasm at the Solheim Cup two weeks ago.

"I don't know what they're doing here watching me," said Kim, with a smile, before being told it must be something to do with her moxie she brings to the course.

"What are you talking about?" Kim added playfully. "It's all about these girls (playing alongside me in the pro-am)."

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos