Some might have been surprised by Lorie Kane's fifth-place finish at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters last weekend. But not Kane herself.
The Charlottetown veteran said her good showing was a reflection of the hard work she's put in this year to revive her game.
It was also the result of being able to play free of the pain she's experienced in her hips.
"Having a strong first round and four rounds under par was great," she said from her Florida home by e-mail between loads of laundry after returning from Dubai. "I've been working hard with the idea of a strong finish for the year. I'm not surprised by my play in fact. I feel I did leave some out there. We had lots of good chances."
It was the first time this season that Kane put together four consecutive rounds under par. She opened the Ladies European Tour event with a four-under 68 and finished at 11 under.
She had three subpar rounds in a row in her other top-10 finish of the season, in February at the 54-hole New Zealand Women's Open.
Kane turns 48 this month but it's clear she's forging ahead, not winding down. (She has bristled at suggestions of retirement, even when her performance was unsteady over the past two seasons.) She's been putting in loads of practice time in Orlando and area under the watchful eye of swing coach Sean Foley and caddy Danny Sharp, who not only carries her bag but helps with her swing.
Kane said the fitness and therapy work she's done with Atay Varli and Craig Davies, a Canadian chiropractor and trainer, has been equally important. "I'm feeling the strongest I have ever [felt] with no pain in either hip," she said.
Kane was on the front page of the leader board in Dubai throughout the four rounds, and picked up a fair amount of TV time. Her swing looked good and she appeared noticeably fitter.
Ending her season on a high bodes well for 2013, when she returns to the LPGA Tour for her 18th season. She expects to make her first appearance in Australia.
If she needs incentive to play well next year, she has a chance to record her 100th career top-10 LPGA finish and crack the $7-million (U.S.) mark in earnings. Those are nice round numbers. She needs just over $94,000 to reach the mark.
Achieving the first goal might lead to the other.
By the numbers:
Kane finished her LPGA Tour season with $70,396 (U.S.) in winnings from 17 events, putting her 89th on the circuit's money list. She was the top Canadian.
In five events on the Ladies European Tour, she collected the equivalent of $49,327 (Canadian). Had she been a member, she would have finished 71st on the money list.
The Short Game blog is a compilation of small news stories, statistics and analysis from the wide world of golf, with a focus on Canadian content. Jeff Brooke has written about golf for The Globe and Mail since his first assignment at the 2007 Masters.