Ladies' first

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Sure, Kim Carrington's first Calgary Ladies Amateur golf title didn't come with all the pomp and circumstance but that's not a problem.

Looking back, it would have been great to walk up the 18th fairway knowing victory was at hand after all those years when it was so close.

It would have been rewarding to sink that final putt to close out the tournament instead of having rain wipe out last year's third round.

It doesn't matter now, though, because Carrington's name is on the trophy and she heads into this year's tournament -- which begins today at the Calgary Golf and Country Club -- as the defending champ.

"Sure it would have been nice to play a third round but a win is a win," Carrington said. "I've been the bridesmaid before and I'll take that as a positive."

Carrington's been the bridesmaid on plenty of occasions, especially when Marilyn O'Connor won it 11 years straight.

"Actually, third more often," she said. "Second a few times. It seemed so many years it was Marilyn, Diane (Williams) and then me or Diane, Marilyn and then me."

Carrington claimed last year's crown after putting together a five-shot lead over Cheryl Newman through two days.

Going into this year's tournament, slated to run through Thursday, Carrington is a new player. And we're not talking about her swing.

"I did some goal settings in November and some of it was to work on my fitness. I wanted to get stronger physically and did that with weights," she explained.

"I lost 30 pounds and feel a lot stronger, mentally and physically.

"It's such a big deal and I had no idea. Now it's about keeping it off and maintaining."

Unfortunately, she's not feeling completely on top of her game due to a broken ankle suffered in March that requires her to wear a brace while playing.

Even so, Carrington can see a positive in her situation.

"If I had the thirty pounds still, I'd really be struggling," she said.

The Calgary Ladies Amateur has been battled for since 1925. O'Connor (Country Hills), Williams (Canyon Meadows) and Lindsay McMillan (Glencoe) are other past winners who'll be vying for the 54-hole title at the city's most storied course.

"I love the Calgary Golf and Country Club, I think everybody does," said Carrington, whose home track is Willow Park.

"But it's also really good for my game, narrow fairways, lots of trees, target golf. It's like my home course."


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