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CPKC Women’s Open serves as measuring stick for young Canadian professionals

A total of 10 amateur Canadians, including Ellie Szeryk, played in the event
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Brigitte Kim Thibault, of Canada, hits her tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round at the LPGA CPKC Canadian Women’s Open golf tournament, in Vancouver, on Friday, August 25, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The CPKC Women’s Open isn’t just a showcase for some of the LPGA Tour’s top players — it’s an opportunity for Canada’s youngest professional golfers to see how they measure up.

Although Brigitte Thibault and Sarah-Eve Rheaume both missed the cut at the Canadian women’s golf championship on Friday (Aug. 25), they agreed they learned a lot from the experience.

The 24-year-old Thibault has been playing on the Women’s All-Pro Tour this season, a third-tier circuit that has most of its tournaments in Texas. She said that playing in an LPGA Tour event was a good way of seeing how her golf is progressing.

“I felt very comfortable. I know I belong,” said Thibault after a 3-over 75 second round put her at 8 over. “I’m hitting shots that I know are super tough, and I’m kind of pulling them away and giving away shots on easier shots.

“So just cleaning up and fine tuning the easier shots and I’ll be right up there.”

Likewise, the 22-year-old Rheaume saw that she can play at the highest levels of women’s golf. She has been playing on the second-tier Epson Tour this season, and sits 150th on its money list.

“You see that you’re pretty close,” said Rheaume about her second-ever appearance in an LPGA Tour event. “Once you’re at the Epson Tour level the difference to step up to the LPGA isn’t that big.

“It’s a good confidence booster, because you see, you can really compete out here.”

Rheaume had a 2-over 74 round on Friday to finish the tournament at 7-over par. The projected cutline was set at 2 over.

Thibault is from Rosemere, Que., and Rheaume is a native of Quebec City. As the only two Québécois players in the field they were proud to represent la Belle Province.

“I’ve seen a lot of Québécois out here,” said Thibault of the large galleries at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. “It’s been nice to just feel the support and the warmth of them, just following you and cheering for you.”

Rheaume, who played two groups behind Thibault, also felt the love.

“It’s important to have some representation,” said Rheaume, who played in the CP Women’s Open in Ottawa last year. “We had four girls play (in 2022) and this year we only had two.

“It’s very nice to represent Quebec and we’re really proud of our province and our country.”

Brooke Henderson (68) of Smiths Falls, Ont., and Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (76) were the only Canadians to make the cut. Henderson was tied for 11th at 1 under and Sharp was tied for 33rd at 1 over.

“I’m just gonna go back out and do my best again tomorrow,” said Sharp, who finished as dark was falling on the course. “It was tough being on the clock for four holes at the end, rushing around like that wasn’t help helping on some of those holes.

“I’m not super happy with how I finished but glad to have 36 more holes.”

Amateur Brooke Rivers (79) of Brampton, Ont., made a clutch putt on the par-3 17th hole to save par but then double bogeyed the pat-4 No. 18 to miss the cut by two shots.

“I’ve never played an events as big as this,” said the 18-year-old Rivers. “The courses are set up a little bit different so it was nice to see what the pros do and what I can learn from them.”

Sisters Maddie and Ellie Szeryk of London, Ont., played together in both rounds but missed the cut.

A total of 10 amateur Canadians, including Ellie Szeryk, played in the event.

Lauren Kim and Angela Arora of Surrey, B.C., Luna Lu of Burnaby, B.C., Toronto’s Vanessa Borovilos, Vancouver’s Victoria Liu, Katie Cranston of Oakville, Ont., Lauren Zaretsky of Thornhill, Ont., Yeji Kwon of Port Coquitlam, B.C., and Victoria’s Sonja Tang also missed the cut.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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