WATERLOO, ONT. - On Tuesday, veteran Lorie Kane singled out Maude-Aimee Leblanc as the young Canadian to watch.
"I'll going to tell you, somebody I think is going to win, a Canadian, sometime soon is Maude-Aimee Leblanc," Charlottetown, P.E.I.'s Kane had said in a pre-tournament news conference for the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, alongside another vet, Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ont.
While Leblanc may not get that win here at Grey Silo — she shot a second consecutive season-best 68 to get it to 4-under for the tournament to jump into the top-30 and is top Canadian — she definitely has caught the attention of her peers.
"I've never seen a woman hit it as far as she does," Sharp said.
We all knew Leblanc could pound it out there — she was second in driving distance (278 yards) coming into the tournament — but on Saturday at Grey Silo, the 23-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que., took it to a new level.
How about 333 yards, fellas?
"I hit the cart path, actually, on that hole (the 4th), so it was luck," the smooth-swinging 6-foot-1 blonde admitted, perhaps padding her three-round average of 303.4 yards a smidge.
"But in the first round I hit it 320 on that same hole, but (the LPGA) didn't take it for some reason, so I guess that makes it even."
Leblanc, sitting at No. 8 in the LPGA rookie-of-the-year standings well back of Nos. 1 and 2 So Yeon Ryu and Lexi Thompson, had seven birdies on Saturday, but also a double-bogey and two bogeys. She 3-putted the par-5 18th after getting to the green in two and had to settle for par, so consistency, she says, is her weakness.
"I would say eliminating triples and doubles, high numbers. I always screw up pretty bad on one hole," she said. But she's getting noticed and said aid the attention is nice, especially from her experienced compatriots.
"It's very nice to hear that. I know Alena and Lorie have been around for many years so I'm just trying to follow their steps," she said appreciatively before the quiet Canadian confidence came out: "... Maybe better, I don't know." firstname.lastname@example.org