MIRABEL, QUE. - Heading into this week's Canadian Women's Open no two players had more eyes on them than Saturday's unlikely 10 a.m. pairing.
Lorie Kane is a big deal in Canada. The LPGA veteran is endorsed by tournament sponsor CN and is quite comfortable in her role as de facto tournament host.
Yani Tseng is a big deal everywhere. The world No. 1 is expected to contend every week and seems more and more comfortable in her role as one of golf's biggest stars.
Both players started the day at two-under after shooting matching 71s on Thursday and Friday.
Although Tseng was just seven years old when Kane made her LPGA debut in 1996, the two are far from strangers and enjoyed each others company during Saturday's Round 3 at Hillsdale Golf and Country Club outside Montreal.
"We've played many times and I played with her last year at the Canadian Open," Tseng said. "Actually, my first U.S. Open I played a practice round with Lorie and it made me feel really comfortable because she's very nice and very easy to get close to."
Tseng has struggled with her game at times this week and at one point Saturday she was seen stretching and rubbing a clearly irritated right shoulder. None of this seemed to matter as Tseng and Kane shot the breeze and shared a laugh as they waited for the fairway to clear on the eighth tee.
"Yani's a good kid, she's carrying our tour right now on her back," Kane said. "Not being from North America and having a language barrier, she's really worked hard on her English."
Kane is very impressed with all that Tseng has accomplished at such a tender age.
"I'm going to tell you what my life was like when I was 22 years old," Kane said.
"I was not playing professional golf at 22. I was on Team Canada when I was 22. I was in university when I was 22. I was not winning five major championships and carrying the tour."
One thing both players agreed on is that, despite what many would think, playing at home doesn¹t add any pressure.
"As an athlete it's not so much pressure that we feel playing at home," Kane said. "For me, I know there is no pressure coming home, it's excitement for me."
Tseng, who comes from Taiwan, agrees with Kane.
"Pressure? No, not really," Tseng said. "It's always very nice to have someone cheer for you, someone support you." According to Kane, who struggled with a two-over par 74 on Saturday, the toughest pressure to deal with comes from yourself.
"I think what Yani and myself strive to be is the best and that's the most pressure because it's self pressure and sometimes that's the toughest to live up to." Tseng had a stretch of three consecutive birdies on the back nine Saturday, shooting 69 to head into Sunday's final round seven shots back of the leaders.
If Tseng was feeling any of the "self pressure" Kane spoke of, she wasn't showing it after her round.
"I still can shoot 10-under tomorrow," Tseng said.
Must be nice to be young and on top of the world.