Solid day for Canuck amateur

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

Maude-Aimee Leblanc wanted to steer clear of the scoreboards.

Try as she might, though, the 20-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que., couldn't keep her eyes from wandering. Especially after a few early-morning birdies put her name near the top of the list.

"I wish I had a camera to take a picture of that," she grinned. "I'm sure there will be other opportunities like this, though."

That's a safe bet.

On a day when Aussie Anna Rawson set a course record and several established stars stayed in hot pursuit, Leblanc showed she, too, belonged inside the ropes at Priddis Greens, sinking six birdie putts and signing off on an even-par 71.

Leblanc would've finished in red numbers if not for costly hiccups on No. 15 and No.16, where she made back-to-back double bogeys before calming her nerves and putting up a pair of birdies on her way to the clubhouse.

Another round like that today and she'll likely survive the cut for the first time in three cracks at the CN Canadian Women's Open.

"I'm trying to not think about the cut too much, but it's hard with all the scoreboards around here," Leblanc said.

"We're just going shot by shot."

Of the five Canadian amateurs teeing it up at Priddis Greens, Leblanc has the best shot at sticking around for the weekend.

Jennifer Kirby, the reigning Canadian junior and amateur champ from Paris, Ont., put up a heck of a fight on a blustery afternoon, firing two birdies on the back nine en route to a 2-over 73.

Nicole Vandermade struggled to straighten out her driver and didn't have much better luck with her flatstick, but the Brantford, Ont., native made birdies on three of her final four holes to salvage a 4-over 75.

Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont., finished at 5-over 76, while Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., carded an 8-over 79.

Team Canada's amateurs wore their national colours during yesterday's opening round.

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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