Sherlock's home as a pro

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Stephanie Sherlock is no stranger to the CN Canadian Women's Open, but there's one big difference this time around.

After playing the event four times as an amateur, this time if Sherlock advances to weekend play, she'll actually be able to accept the cheque.

"I've got a little bit of experience and I know what it's like, so hopefully I can put all the hoopla aside and focus on what I'm doing," said Sherlock, a former Golf Canada team member who turned pro last week. "What was different is that I had to pay $250 bucks to get in. But it's kind of cool, you can win money. It's really exciting for me."

Sherlock, 23, has a simple goal in mind for this week.

"I started playing in it when I was really young," said Sherlock, who hails from Barrie, Ont. "This is a long golf course, so I have to hit fairways and make some putts. Then I'll have a shot to be around for the weekend.

"That's obviously the goal and that would be awesome if I could do that (make the cut)."

Sherlock finished 11th at the Canadian PGA Championship last week in Toronto after making the decision to turn pro.

"It was cool, but it's the same game," said Sherlock. "It was the right decision. That (event) was only two days, so this will be the real first one."

Sherlock endured a somewhat frustrating season at the University of Denver and feeling a bit burned out, so she took a full month away from the game and focused solely on her studies.

"It was a tough year and golf kind of took a back seat because I had to take a few extra classes," said Sherlock, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science and Business degree. "I really wanted to get done in four years, but it was fun. Denver is a great city. I was sad to leave but glad to be done school."

After getting refreshed, Sherlock came to Winnipeg for two days to work on her game with national women's team head coach Derek Ingram.

"When I got done exams, I started up again and I've been going ever since," said Sherlock. "By the end of the college season last year, I was almost not looking forward to coming to the golf course. Taking a couple weeks off was the right thing to do. I was excited and couldn't wait to get back to the golf course.

"Now I feel my game is better than it was, even last year at this point."

Thanks to her performance at the U.S. Amateur -- where Sherlock advanced to the semifinals of the match play portion of the event -- Sherlock's confidence is at an all-time high.

"Hopefully, I can bring that into this week," said Sherlock. "That was probably my best amateur tournament ever. It was a good way to leave. I wish I could have won, but I gave it a run."

Ingram believes Sherlock has a bright future ahead of her.

"Stephanie is a player who can take advantage of her length and she's also a very steady player and extremely smart," said Ingram. "She's very consistent. She has a good short game, is a good putter and there are very few weaknesses in her game.

"She's been a very good player for a long, long time. She's got a resume that is stacked."

CHIP SHOTS: One Canadian, two Americans and an Argentine golfer were successful at the Monday qualifying round at Elmhurst. Joining the Canadian Open field after shooting 72 Monday are Marina Choi of Los Angeles, Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., Maria Laura Elvira of Argentina and Amie Hartje of Valencia, Calif. Winnipeg's Stacey Bieber was among the other Canadians in the qualifying field but shot 75 and did not qualify.


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