In 2005, Lee entered the clubhouse at 9-under-par (73-68-69-69=279), with a one-stroke lead over 54-hole leader Janice Moodie. As Moodie stepped up to the 18th tee, all a nervous Lee could do was wait, behind the grandstands. Not able to bring herself to watch the final hole, she sent her caddy out. Moodie ended up three-putting the last to slip into a tie for sixth and allowing Lee to become the fourth-consecutive Rolex First-Time winner of the year.
Lee went on to finish the season as the second-ranked rookie behind Paula Creamer and rode the wave of momentum to Hawaii in 2006. At the 2006 Fields Open in Hawaii, she secured her second-career victory via a three-hole sudden death playoff with 2006 rookie Seon Hwa Lee. Coupled with a runner-up finish at the LPGA Corning Classic and more than $1.3 million in career earnings, nerves should no longer be a factor to contend with.
But Canada is. The London Hunt and Country Club hosts the CN Canadian Women's Open and the 6,611-yard layout is the fourth-longest course that players will see this year. Only the MasterCard Classic Honoring Alejo Peralta (6,943), Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola (6,629), and U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA (6,616) measured longer. Additionally, as the only LPGA Tour-sanctioned event in Canada, national pride is sure to play a factor for six LPGA Tour members in the field, led by Lorie Kane who represents CN Railways, the title sponsor of the tournament.
Since the tournament joined the Tour schedule in 2001, Kane has played every year and owns three top-eight finishes (2001, 02, 04), with her best performance a tie for third in 2001. Kane is a four-time LPGA Tour winner, but has not won since the 2001 LPGA Takefuji Classic. The $225,000 winner's check would also put her within striking distance of $7 million in career earnings'a mark surpassed by only nine players in LPGA Tour history.
Among that elite squad are LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame member Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon. Daniel's 2003 victory was the last event she's won on Tour, albeit a number of close calls, including a runner-up finish in Canada in 2004. It was her first win, however, since 1995 and she became the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history at the age of 46 years, 8 months and 29 days.
Mallon won in 2002 and 2004 in Canada. Her win in 2004 came one week after her victory at the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA, and was the second of three wins in five starts. A win this week would be the 19th of her career and would send her over $9 million in career earnings.
Five other LPGA Tour players with Canadian ties in the field this week include Kim Brozer, Dawn Coe-Jones, A.J. Eathorne, Nancy Harvey and Alena Sharp.