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Kerr, Park share lead at CN Canadian Women's Open

Cristie Kerr

Bernard Brault/Golf Canada

Cristie Kerr's chances of leading the CN Canadian Women's Open after Friday's second round were all but thwarted by the unlikeliest of foes - the errant slam of a porta potty door.

Kerr, who was battling shot-for-shot, birdie-for-birdie with Inbee Park throughout the day, came to the par-4 18th at Edmonton's Royal Mayfair Golf and Country Club tied with the South Korean at 9-under par.

Hopes for a par looked to be challenging after Kerr found the left rough off the tee. But it almost became a disaster when her approach shot was interrupted by the noise of a spring-loaded portable toilet door slamming shut.

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"I mean, (the door slam) really scared me," said Kerr, the 2006 Canadian champion. "I could have hooked (the ball) in the water."

She ended up making bogey but so did Park, one of only two on the day - both coming on the back nine. That left them tied for the lead at 8-under par heading into the weekend.

"It's always good when you're playing with a partner while she's making a lot of birdies and it makes you want to have more birdies," said Park of her grouping with Kerr. "It already felt like a final round, and trying to make more birdies and trying to get the momentum going."

Karine Icher of France, who battled Kerr to a draw in the final singles match at last weekend's Solheim Cup, shot 66 to sit one stroke back of the co-leaders at 7-under par.

She was joined late in the day by Angela Stanford, who fashioned a round of 68 as overcast skies and a slight breeze replaced the brilliant sunshine of the morning.

Legendary golfer Laura Davies, a winner of this event back in 1996 when it was played at Edmonton Golf Club, showed it's not all a young girls game as she carded a round of 66 to leave her two strokes off the lead.

"I'm holing putts. That's the difference," said the 49-year-old Englishwoman. "I think I had 27 today and I had [27] yesterday, and that is probably something like 13 putts less than I've had the last two weeks when I missed the cut by a shot or two. You know, you can't compete if you can't hole putts."

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Back-to-back birdies over her final four holes helped defending champion Lydia Ko salvage a round of 69 to leave her at 6-under par along with Davies and Paula Creamer (68).

Kathleen Ekey set a new course record with a round of 6-under 64. An eagle on the par-4 first hole and four birdies highlighted her bogey-free round.

Only two of the 20 Canadians who started the week managed to make the cut, which ended up being 2-over par. It will fall to Samantha Richdale (70) of Kelowna, B.C., and Jessica Shepley (70) of Oakville, Ont., to try and end the 40 year home-grown drought at this event.

Lorie Kane of Charlottetown seemed poised to erase the bitter memories of missing last year's cut in Vancouver. But a double bogey on the par-4 sixth and a bogey on the closing par-4 ninth left her one stroke on the wrong side of the cut line at 3-over.

"I'm not a cut‑line player.  I'm better than that," said Kane, who missed her 10th cut of year. "Unfortunately, the golf I'm showing on the last few holes makes me look like a cut‑line player.  I'm disappointed."

Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ont., who started the day two strokes off the lead, didn't hit enough greens on Friday and shot 76 to also miss by one.

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"I just wasn't solid.  I hit a lot of bad shots and put myself in bad position," said Kirby, who admitted to feeling more nervous today than on Thursday.  "I felt like I was kind of forcing to keep things together, and it just didn't work out."

Among the notables who missed the cut were Morgan Pressel (+4), Karrie Webb (+5) and 2010 champion Michelle Wie (+9), who admitted she was feeling really under the weather on Friday.

"I'm going to take advantage of the two days I'm not playing, and just not leave my bed and just kind of sleep for 40 hours straight," said Wie.

Here's how the remaining Canadians fared on Friday:

T89 - Jessica Wallace (Langley, B.C.) +4 (75-69)

T89 - Brooke Henderson (Smiths Falls, Ont.) +4 (72-72)

T89 - Maude-Aimee Leblanc (Sherbrooke, Que.) +4 (71-73)

T103 - Rebecca Lee-Bentham (Toronto) +5 (76-69)

T110 - Sue Kim (Langley, B.C.) +6 (75-71)

T114 - Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ont.) +7 (74-73)

T114 - Isabelle Beisiegel (Saint-Hilaire, Que.) +7 (70-77)

T121 - Jennifer Ha (Calgary) +8 (77-71)

T121 - Stephanie Sherlock (Barrie, Ont.) +8 (71-77)

T121 - Alena Sharp (Hamilton, Ont.) +8 (76-72)

T133 - Anne-Catharine Tanguay (Quebec City) +10 (72-78)

T139 - Natalie Gleadall (Stratford, Ont.) +11 (78-73)

T145 - Augusta James (Bath, Ont.) +13 (82-71)

T145 - Sara-Maude Juneau (Fossambault, Que.) +13 (76-77)

153 - Nicole Vandermade (Brantford, Ont.) +25 (85-80)

154 - Nicole Forshner (Banff, Alta.)  +32 (89-83)


GENERATION GAP: Lydia Ko wasn't even born the last time Laura Davies won the Canadian Women's Open back in 1996. Yet, at one point during Friday's second round they were tied for fourth, two strokes off the lead. While they did finish with the same score, Ko's late round stumble denied everyone what might have been one of the most interesting third round pairings for Saturday. (Davies will be paired with Paula Creamer and Angela Stanford)

While it is becoming quite common to see the 16-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander atop the leaderboard these days, the same can't be said for the 49-year-old Davies. With a career 84 professional wins under her belt, Davies surprised many - including herself - by her play this week in Edmonton.

"I've been playing well. My scores would suggest that I've been playing s**t," she said with a big laugh after posting a round of 66, two shots shy of the low round of the day.

"I've just not been putting well. Putting is such a huge part of the game nowadays because everyone can play. Ballstriking-wise I've been getting more and more confident. I missed the cut in the British Open, I missed the cut in Prague (Ladies European Tour event). So I came here on a bad run but on the other hand I thought, I know how well I'm hitting it."

"Confidence is everything and I feel confident although the results would suggest I should be drained of any and all ounce of confidence."

And Davies relishes the idea of going up against the LPGA's new breed of young guns, suggesting they still have a thing or two to learn from players such as herself.

"I'll stand on the driving range with any of them. The difference seems to be, I'm the best player on the range, I hit it great on the range. Whether I can convert it onto the course has been my problem the last two to three years."

"These youngsters, they're probably not as good on the range but when they get on the course ...they're seeing less trouble, they're seeing the shots they want to hit. I used to be like that - I used to hit driver on every hole and just get after it and that's what the youngins are doing and good luck to them. But if they're still playing in 36 years, they'll see a few more problems out there."

"They've not got the experience yet of blowing leads and stuff, they're just having fun playing golf and it just so happens they're making a fortune doing it at the same time. It's great to see."

An icon in women's golf, Davies resume is Hall of Fame worthy - except that it's not. The three-time major winner and Ladies European Tour Order of Merit winner a record seven times is just two points shy of earning automatic induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame. She can achieve that by winning two individual Tour events or one LPGA major.

"That's the number one job. I don't think anyone else, apart from me, thinks I can do it and that includes my family," she says with a laugh. "But I still think I've got wins in me. Until I am physically making a fool of myself, I'm still playing."


SUMMER VACATION: For the second straight year, Brooke Henderson is going home after just two days at the CN Canadian Women's Open.

Last year, she missed the cut after becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the National Open Championship.

No doubt, the Smiths Falls, Ont., golfer would have much preferred to play two more days but in the grand scheme of things, it's been a pretty successful summer.

"The Canadian Open is a pretty big deal to me. It would be awesome to be able to play the weekend," said Henderson after carding back-to-back rounds of 72.

"It's been so much fun this season."

A season that's included:

- playing in both Canadian-based LPGA Tour events, finishing tied for 35th at the Manulife Financial Classic

- qualifying for her first ever LPGA major, the U.S. Women's Open, where she went on to a tie for 59th, finishing ahead of Tour regulars Yani Tseng, Sandra Gal, Suzann Pettersen and Michelle Wie.

- becoming the youngest player to win the Canadian Amateur Championship

- finishing runner-up at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship

- winning the CN Future Links Pacific Championship

- placing third place at the CN Canadian Women's Tour event in Quebec City

- making it to the Round of 16 at both the North & South Amateur Championshp and Western Amateur Championship

- finishing tied for fifth in the stroke play portion of a very competitive field at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship before losing in the opening round of match play.

- becoming the first Canadian female to reach the top 10 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

"I'd love to play on the LPGA Tour in the future and have a good career out of it," said Henderson. "Just looking at these girls out here like Michelle (Wie) and Becky (Rebecca Lee-Bentham) who I played with today, they're just so good and I want to be like them."

What's up next for Henderson? Putting the golf clubs away for the time being and starting Grade 11 on the third of September.


SOLHEIM HANGOVER? Coming off the emotions of last weekend at the Solheim Cup in Colorado where the European side won for the first time ever on U.S. soil, its understandable there would be a let down by the players who took part in the highly charged event.

But a quick look at the CN Canadian Women's Open leaderboard shows eight of the 11 American players (Lizette Salas elected not to play in Edmonton) made the weekend cut while 10 of 12 European players have qualified for the weekend.

Among those missing are Stacy Lewis, who withdrew with an unspecified illness after a horrible opening round, Michelle Wie, who spoke of being very sick this past week, and Morgan Pressel.

Beatriz Recari and Giulia Sergas were the lone European Solheim Cup players who missed the cut.

If the Solheim Cup did extract a physical and mental toil as some players have spoken about, it hasn't shown up in the play thus far of Cristie Kerr (tied for 1st), Angela Stanford (T3) and Paula Creamer (T5). Karine Icher (T3) and 17-year-old Charley Hull (T8), meanwhile, are the only European's in the top 10.

"When you can perform with this kind of pressure and this kind of tournament, then everything seems easier," said Icher, who acknowledged fatigue was an issue for some. "I think we're all very tired ...I think it's normal. We're just human."


Files from the Canadian Press were used in this report

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