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Silhouette of a golfer (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)
Silhouette of a golfer (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Short Game: Johnston set to get Latinoamerica card Add to ...

Matt Johnston of Winnipeg is in good position to earn his PGA Tour Latinoamerica card for 2013.

The 28-year-old was tied for fifth place at the Latin circuit’s qualifying school in Sebring, Fla., after six holes when the third round was suspended because of bad weather.

Play resumes Friday morning. The top 20 finishers after the fourth round concludes earn full-time cards on the Latinoamerica.

Krister Eriksson of Sweden and Jhared Hack of the United States led the Q-school.

He has played in recent years on the PGA Tour Canada. He also had status on the Asian Tour last year.

If he gets his Latinoamerica card, he’ll join Andrew Parr of London, Ont., on the third-tier tour that is owned and run by the PGA Tour.

Parr earned his card at the tour’s other Q-school this month, in Peru.

Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ont., gave himself a chance of squeezing into the top 20 at Sun N Lake Golf Club by shooting one-under 71 in the third round.

Three over after three rounds, he was two shots out of the top 20.

Johnston was three under, four shots behind Eriksson and Hack.

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STARTING WITH A BANG: Alena Sharp of Hamilton has won her first competitive start of 2013, edging Cara Freeman in a playoff at a Cactus Tour event in Phoenix on Wednesday.

It’s her fifth career title on the Arizona-based mini-tour.

Sharp caught Freeman in the third round Wednesday at Foothills Golf Club, erasing a four-shot disadvantage to force a playoff. She then won on the second playoff hole.

Figuring she needed to shoot seven-under 65 in the final round, Sharp carded a  66 that began with a birdie and eagle on the first two holes. She was six under through nine holes and parred in from there.

On the second playoff hole, she took an aggressive line off the tee on the par-five and left himself with just 215 yards to the hole. Sharp then hit another aggressive shot to pin high and nearly dunked her chip for an eagle. With Freeman driving her tee shot into a bunker and needing four shots to get on the green, the tap-in birdie was good enough for victory.

The 31-year-old usually plays on the LPGA Tour but is skipping its swing this month through Australia and Asia.

She plans to stay on the lower-tier Cactus and Symetra tours this month and make her LPGA season debut in March at the RR Donnellly Founders Cup, also in Phoenix, close to where Sharp makes her home now.

Sharp is coming off a disappointing year on the LPGA Tour, her eighth. She lost full-time status.

Her performance prompted her to return to her original coach, Jeff Moore, who taught Sharp for 12 years beginning when she was 12.

The move paid instant dividends when Sharp won the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada in late August in a runaway.

Sharp and Moore continued working over the off-season. Success continued.  “I have a great coach,” she tweeted Wednesday evening.

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INDOOR FIREWORKS: The Toronto Golf & Travel Show better bring out the heavy-duty netting at its indoor driving range.

Jamie Sadlowski is coming.

The long-driving champion from St. Paul, Alta., will be at the 24th edition of the show next month for a demonstration. With a 148 mile-an-hour swing speed and peak ball speed of 215, the 24-year-old has been known to blast holes in nets and screens when he’s hitting indoors.

The show runs March 1 through 3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Sadlowski, who won the 2008 and 2009 Re/Max World Long Driving Championship in Nevada, smashing his winning drive 418 yards in 2008, is scheduled to be appear in the show’s teaching and demo arena on the final two days.

Michael Breed, the PGA of America’s teacher of the year and a Golf Channel personality, will also attend, on the opening day.

The show is a harbinger of spring for Ontario golf enthusiasts. Attendees can try the latest equipment, gets lessons and visit the exhibits of various golf destinations.

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