Skip to main content


Canada's Sharp excited for major return at KPMG Women's PGA Championship

Alena Sharp Alena Sharp - The Canadian Press

It's been three years since Hamilton's Alena Sharp played in a major and she feels like her game has evolved to better suit the best-on-best women's golf tournament.

The 43-year-old Sharp joins Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., and Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ont., at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Thursday. Sharp last competed in a major in 2021, playing in the Women's PGA Championship and the Amundi Evian Championship that year.

"I've definitely changed quite a bit," said Sharp. "I used to hit a draw and now I'm hitting a fade, so I think that helps a little bit in majors because usually things are firm, so it might not run out as much on the green.

"You need to keep evolving and I feel like my game has, so I'm ready for the challenge for the week."

Sharp tied for 25th at the Women's PGA Championship in June 2021 and tied for 70th a month later at the Evian Championship. Although a regular on the LPGA Tour in 2022, she didn't qualify for any of the five majors in women's golf.

She held dual membership with the top women's circuit and the second-tier Epson Tour in 2023, playing in four LPGA events that year.

Sharp qualified for this year's Women's PGA Championship based on her 146th ranking on this season's CME Globe points list.

"We're playing amazing golf courses and the PGA of America does a great job in elevating the event," said Sharp, who noted she was glad to see the tournament return to Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., outside of Seattle. "The purse has gone up so much since we started, it's gone up like 300 per cent.

"Everything about the tournament is top notch."

Henderson was also glad to return to Salahee, where she won the Women's PGA Championship in 2016, the first major title of her career and her second win on the LPGA Tour.

"It definitely changed my life back in 2016," said Henderson. "I received a lot more attention from the fans and the media, and just what I believed I could do moving forward I think changed.

"Felt like anything was possible after this victory. I really gained a lot from playing and winning here in 2016."

The women's world golf rankings will be finalized for Olympics qualifications on Monday, following the conclusion of the Women's PGA Championship. As the world No. 13 player, Henderson is a lock to represent Canada at the Paris Games in August.

"Any time you can go and represent your country it's a very proud moment," said Henderson, who played for Canada at the 2016 Rio Games and again in Tokyo in 2021, both times with Sharp. "To be able to wear the Maple Leaf and go to Paris is really exciting for me."

Despite mainly playing in the Epson Tour over the past two years, Sharp is the front-runner to be Henderson's teammate for a third consecutive Olympics.

"It's been on my mind," said Sharp. "I've been watching (the rankings) obviously, and I was eager to get back out on the LPGA Tour because you don't get a lot of points playing on Epson.

"The last two tournaments I was able to make the cut and then just didn't play well on the weekend but I've learned from those two experiences and hope to apply it this week."

EPSON TOUR — Brigitte Thibault of Rosemere, Que., leads a group of five Canadians into the Island Resort Championship on Friday. She's No. 111 in the Race for the Card standings. Maddie Szeryk (140th) of London, Ont., as well as unranked players Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., Vancouver's Leah John and Kate Johnston of Ayr, Ont., are also playing at Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Mich.

RIVERS GOES PRO — Collegiate star Brooke Rivers of Brampton, Ont., has turned professional. The Wake Forest University freshman will play the B.C. Open at Pitt Meadows Golf Club on Thursday. She will also play in the ORORO PGA Women's Championship of Canada at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont., on July 2.

PGA TOUR — Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is still the top-ranked Canadian heading into the Travelers Championship on Thursday although the rankings are very close. He's 30th, Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., is 31st, Corey Conners of Listowel, is 33rd and Nick Taylor of Abbotsford is 37th. All four are in the field at TPC Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. Mackenzie Hughes (46th) of Dundas, Ont., and Adam Svensson (88th) of Surrey, B.C., will also tee it up.

KORN FERRY TOUR — Edmonton's Wil Bateman is the highest ranked Canadian playing in this week's Compliance Solutions Championship. Bateman is 30th on the second-tier tour's points list. He'll be joined at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla., by Etienne Papineau (48th) of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., Sudarshan Yellmaraju (96th) of Mississauga, Ont., and Jared du Toit (117th) of Kimberley, B.C.

CHAMPIONS TOUR — Calgary's Stephen Ames leads the Schwab Cup points list heading into DICK'S Open En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y. Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., is 35th on the points list heading into Friday's first round.

PGA TOUR AMERICAS — The North American swing of the Americas Tour begins on Thursday with The Beachlands Victoria Open at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria. Matthew Anderson of Mississauga and Vancouver's Stuart Macdonald are Nos. 1 and 4 on the Fortinet Cup standings coming out of the break between the Latin American and North American legs of the third-tier circuit.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.