For Jaclyn Lee, the atmosphere at the LPGA Tour’s only Canadian stop can’t be beat.
No matter where in the country the event is held, hordes of golf fans line the greens for the CP Women’s Open, creating one of the best experiences on the tour, she said.
Golf Canada announced Thursday that next year, those fans will be in Vancouver when the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club hosts the event from Aug. 31-Sept. 6.
“I think the Canadians who are out on tour and playing are going to get a huge fan base out here, lots of cheers,” Lee said at the official announcement. “But I also think it’s going to be a great environment for us to play out here.”
The stop at Shaughnessy will mark the first CP Women’s Open in B.C. since 2015 when New Zealand star Lydia Ko won at the Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam.
The club will be holding an LPGA Tour event for the first time, but has previously hosted the men’s Canadian Open four times, most recently in 2011.
Few other golf courses in the country have a reputation that rivals Shaughnessy, said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum.
Known for its picturesque beauty, the course was the final creation of famed golf course designer A.V. Macan.
“A lot of people, historians, will say this is the culmination of all his incredible work. It’s a beautiful, treed, well-manicured, well-kept gold course. But it’s also got great challenge,” Applebaum said, adding that the greens are small with “subtle undulations.”
While Lee has used the club’s practice facilities, she hasn’t yet had a chance to play a round at Shaughnessy and said her only experience comes from seeing it on TV.
“I’ve heard it’s pretty but it’s challenging,” she said. “I’m excited to get on the golf course myself and see what it’s all about. But I really think it’s going to be a championship golf course.”
The CP Women’s Open is a favourite among players, in part because of its US$2.25-million purse.
“Having that field, having the world’s best coming to our event every year is such a coup,” Applebaum said. “And it’s going to continue here in 2020 at Shaughnessy.”
The event holds a special place in Lee’s heart because it was the first LPGA event she ever played back in 2016 when was held in her hometown of Calgary.
Since then, Lee’s game has evolved and this season, she turned pro after a solid amateur run that saw her play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
But her rookie year on the tour has been filled with what Lee called “growing pains.”
In May, she hurt her wrist, forcing six weeks of rehab before she was able to get back on the course in late June. Then last week, she aggravated the injury in practice and had to pull out of some upcoming competitions.
“That’s a little bit tough to handle, being so close to the end of the season. But we’re taking it in stride,” Lee said.
Whether she’ll be able to compete at this year’s CP Women’s Open in Aurora, Ont., later this month remains to be seen.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., is the tournament’s defending champion. Her win at Regina’s Wascana Country Club last summer marked the first time a Canadian had won the event in 45 years.
Lee was at qualification camp for the LPGA tour during last summer’s event, but remembers watching highlights of Henderson’s win.
“It brings a smile to my face and it gives me chills and it makes me inspired to kind of hoist that trophy up as well,” she said.