Whirlwind golfing summer for Hardy

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:41 AM ET

She may be entering the tournament as one of the favourites, but Jill Hardy isn't about to change her approach.

Hardy, the upbeat left-hander from Winnipeg, has been enjoying her time as a member of Canada's national women's golf team and one of the perks was an automatic berth in the RCGA Canadian Women's Amateur Championship, which begins today at the Squamish Valley Golf & Country Club in Squamish, B.C.

"The course is in great shape and the weather is beautiful," Hardy said by telephone yesterday after playing a practice round. "I've enjoyed every tournament this summer and I'm going in with the mindset of just going out there and having fun."

The 72-hole event was open to 120 players and the field will be cut down to the low 48 and ties following Thursday's third round. The inter-provincial team championship will be decided after the first 36 holes of the competition.

Manitoba's team consists of 2005 Women's Amateur Champion Stacey Bieber of St. Charles, Angela Daykin of Strathcona, Jamie Jones of Southwood and Judi Lidstone of Elmhurst.

One of the highlights of the summer for Hardy was playing in the BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open at Glen Arbour Golf Course in Halifax, N.S., which was her first LPGA experience.

"That was really intimidating actually, obviously the pros that I watch on TV were there," said Hardy, who shot 85-75 for a two-round total of 16-over 160 to miss the cut by 13 strokes. "It was fun to be out there with all of the spectators out there and the TV cameras."

Hardy was impressed by all of the golfers but relished the opportunity to see fellow Canadian LPGA player Lorie Kane in person.

"She's got a fantastic golf swing and she's just a classy person all around," said Hardy who played in a group with Kathryn Marshall and Claudia Beauchesne. "(Kane) is somebody I really admire."

Hardy's whirlwind summer has seen her compete in the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship in England and at the U.S. Women's Amateur in Georgia.

"There was so much Bermuda grass at the U.S. Amateur and in Britain there was all the fescue, so it's nice to be on my home turf again," said Hardy, who plays out of Niakwa.

At the U.S. Women's Amateur last week, Hardy tied for 100th after shooting 79-80 for a two-round total of 15-over 159. The Top-64 players advanced to the match play format, which was won by Morgan Pressel of Florida, who recently tied for second in the LPGA Tour's U.S. Women's Open.

"I was really impressed with a lot of the girls' short games down there," said Hardy, 24. "It taught me that maybe my short game and chipping wasn't quite where I want it to be and that's something I'll work on for next year."

Hardy's golf schedule could be different next summer, since she will graduate with her pharmacy degree from the University of Manitoba in the spring.

"It's been a great experience, this year has been a building year for my game," said Hardy, who plans to play in BMO Women's Tour events in Alberta and Ontario before returning to school.

HOLDING STEADY: Rob McMillan of Pine Ridge holds down the 15th spot on the Canadian Tour's Order of Merit money list.

McMillan, who finished 56th at the Montreal Open last week after shooting 73-73-77-73 for a four-round total of 16-over 296, has earned $26,271 through 10 events this season.

The next Canadian Tour event, the Bay Mills Open Players Championship, is scheduled for Aug. 25 to 28 in Brimley, Mich.

CHIP SHOTS: Terry More of The Links at Quarry Oaks captured the Rural Senior Championship yesterday at Selkirk Golf & Country Club, carding his second consecutive 72 to give him a two-over total of 144 and a three-stroke margin of victory. Dave Michaleski of Larters won the Rural Amateur Championship, shooting 73 yesterday to give him a two-day total of 147 and a one-stroke victory.


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