￼It’s an old adage in golf that the place where you lose all those sweet shots you hit on the range is on the short walk or cart ride to the golf course.
Alena Sharp must have solved that age-old problem in golf. After firing a six-under 66 in Thursday’s first round of the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ont., she duplicated that effort with another 66 on Friday and is tied for the lead at the midway point with Lexi Thompson and Hyo Joo Kim.
All three are at 12 under going into the weekend.
“I felt good starting the day. I got up and had a nice little run, just got the nervous energy out, had a good warmup and just felt — I don’t know,” said Sharp.
“This week has been different. I just walked up to the golf course yesterday and today, just feeling like it was going to be a good day. I just had these good vibes coming out,” she said.
“I struck it really well (Friday). I had a lot good chances. I played better today than (Thursday) and rolled my putter really well,” she said.
Maybe, it was just good karma for honouring the rules of the game. After a birdie on the second hole, Sharp called a rules infraction on herself on the par five third, where she wound up taking a double bogey.
“I had to call the rules official because when I addressed my chip shot on three, the ball moved. I mean, I don’t think I completely grounded my club. I was going to ground my club and the ball moved, so he said that because it wasn’t sitting up on top of the grass, it was probably likely that I caused it to move,” she explained.
“Just a funny rule, but it’s the rules of golf and I didn’t want it just let that go. I needed to call it on myself because I was going to be thinking about it all day. I thought I did the right thing,” said Sharp.
“I’m not going to look back at that at the end of this tournament and say, `Oh, I shouldn’t have gotten that penalty.’ It happens,” she said of the one-stroke penalty.
“Then I went to go hit the shot and I was worried it was going to move because I put it back to the spot that it was in, kind of just took a quick chop at it and didn’t hit a good chip, so I missed the putt and made double,” she added.
“I went out and birdied the next hole and really just forgot about it, just kept playing the way I was,” said Sharp.
“I have done a lot of mental work over the last three years, so I’m glad it paid off today. I am proud of myself because I birdied the next hole and could have birdied five also. By the time I walked off No.4 green, I wasn’t thinking about it anymore,” she added.
Sharp then eagled the par five ninth, sending her on to a back nine where she accumulated four more birdies to finish out the day.
Sharp realizes that in order to win so close to her home town of Hamilton, she’ll need to once again duplicate or even better her efforts of the first two days, particularly with lift, clean and place in effect on a soft golf course at Whistle Bear.
“Pretty sure I need to do, probably about another six each day to have chance at winning. The golf course is in such great shape. Wind isn’t really a huge factor. Greens are rolling so true. They’re pure, so you got to make putts,” said Sharp.
“We have ball-in-hand because of the verticut fairways. You have a good lie all the time when you’re in the fairway, so that’s also helpful,” she said.
“Got to go low,” said Sharp.
Brittany Marchand of Orangeville, Ont., who regularly plays the Symetra Tour, followed up her first round 67 with a 70 on Friday and is tied for 20th at seven under.
Brooke Henderson is another shot back at six under after she shot a 67 on Friday to move into a tie for 24th. For more on Henderson’s day, click here.
Sharp, Marchand and Henderson will be the three Canadians playing the weekend.
Click here for the leaderboard.