Whether she’ll defend her title at the CN Canadian Women’s Open is still up in the air but signs are positive.
Tournament director Sean Van Kesteren said Thursday by e-mail that he is “expecting Lydia to join us,” but she has not formally committed yet. Van Kesteren expects to have an answer by early spring.
Canada’s national championship is scheduled to begin Aug. 22 at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton.
First up, though, the 15-year-old Ko is playing in the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open this week.
The New Zealand Women’s Open is co-sanctioned by the women’s European and Australian tours.
The LPGA Tour launches its season next week Down Under, at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Juneau and Kane are expected to play there as well, and are to be joined by fellow Canadians Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Maude-Aimee LeBlanc and Stephanie Sherlock.
ON THE BUBBLE: Andrew Parr of London, Ont., is in position to earn his Latinoamerica tour card on Friday, but just barely.
The PGA Tour Canada regular was tied for 20th place at the circuit’s qualifying school in Lima, Peru, after the third round Thursday.
The top 20 finishers after play ends Friday get their cards.
Parr, who is at one-under 215 after shooting 73 Thursday, was 10 shots behind leader Oscar Serna of Mexico.
Mike Mezei of Lethbridge, Alta., also shot 73 Thursday. He was tied for 39th place at two over, three shots out of the top 20.
The Latinoamerica is a third-tier circuit owned and run by the PGA Tour. It’s on about the same level as the PGA Tour Canada.
HERE WE GO AGAIN: Jim Rutledge will make his season debut on the Champions Tour on Friday at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Victoria native, 53, is beginning his second full season on the senior circuit.
Last year, he had six top-25 finishes in 20 starts and earned $270,000 (U.S.), which put him 49th on the money list.
With only the top 30 money winners keeping full-time status, Rutledge headed back to qualifying school, where he finished in the top five to regain his card for 2013.
Rocco Mediate, Bart Bryant and Chie-Hisang Lin are making their Champions Tour debut.
Rutledge is grouped with Lin, a fellow Q-school graduate, and Sonny Skinner during the first round Friday at The Old Course at Broken Sound.
STEADY START: Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., couldn’t have started his Sunshine Tour debut much better – he birdied the first hole Thursday in the first round of the Joburg Open.
The 23-year-old, a PGA Tour Canada player, made two other birdies on Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s East course but gave the shots back with a bogey and double bogey.
His even-par 72 left him in a tie for 117th place, eight shots behind first-round co-leaders Richard Sterne of South Africa and Maximilian Kieffer of Germany.
Sterne won the tournament in 2008 and is coming off a runner-up finish at the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic last weekend.
Both Sterne and Kieffer were playing the on Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s West course, the second of two layouts used for the Joburg Open.
But Gligic’s solid play didn’t continue into the second round Friday. He shot three-over 75 on the club’s West course to miss the cut. Sterne maintained the lead after the second round, sharing it with Trevor Fisher Jr., who surged up the board by shooting 62. Both were at 15 under heading into weekend play.
AT HOME ON TOUR: Rookie Brad Fritsch has been a PGA Tour regular for just a month, but he’s already feeling comfortable.
The 35-year-old from Ottawa said in an interview with Sportsnet The Fan 590 on Wednesday night that he hasn’t been nervous in his first four starts.
“I just feel like I belong out there,” he told Bob McCown’s Prime Time Sports show. “There is no reason to be nervous.”
His results have shown it.
Fritsch made the cut in his first three starts on the year before failing to reach weekend play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week.
In the three finishes, he produced his best career PGA Tour finish (a tie for ninth spot at the Farmers Insurance Open) and has amassed $184,000 (U.S.) in earnings.
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