Former LPGA Tour player A.J. Eathorne is back at the CN Canadian Women's Open as a caddie, but she will not be teaming up with defending champion Brittany Lincicome at the Vancouver Golf Club this week.
Lincicome and her Canadian caddie proved to be an unbeatable tandem at this tournament near Montreal a year ago. But the two parted ways a few months later.
Eathorne, from Penticton, B.C., decided to take a teaching job at Predator Ridge in Vernon, B.C., while Lincicome has partnered with veteran caddie Todd Jones, who has worked for Se Ri Pak in the past.
Eathorne, however, has taken a week off from her teaching gig to caddie for Alena Sharp of Hamilton. Eathorne stopped caddieing on the LPGA Tour in order to stay home, build her teaching resume and get away from the hectic life on tour.
But earlier this month Sharp called the 36-year-old Eathorne to reprise her caddie role.
"She's the defending caddie champion," Sharp said. "That's always a plus.
"She's super-positive. That's one of the reasons I wanted to work with her. She's smart and she knows how to win."
A total of 15 Canadians will be in the Canadian Women's Open field, including 14-year-old Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont. She doesn't turn 15 until Sept. 10 and will be the youngest player to compete in this tournament.
Henderson qualified for the LPGA event when she became one of the youngest to win a pro event earlier this summer, the CN Women's Tour stop in Beloeil, Que. She also successfully defended her Ontario junior crown and won the Canadian junior championship this summer as well as competed in the U.S. Junior and Ladies British Amateur tournament at Carnoustie, Scotland.
Henderson's father, Dave, a teacher, played goal for the University of Toronto when Mike Keenan coached theVarsity Blues to the 1983-84 national championship.
Tseng still No. 1
The LPGA Tour's back-to-back player of the year Yani Tseng hasn't won since late March when she celebrated a victory for the third time in the season's first five events. Despite a slump that has seen her miss the cut in three of her past five events, she's still the No. 1-ranked women's golfer in the world.
With an 11th place showing last week, she believes better times are ahead. She also feels comfortable returning to the Vancouver Golf Club, where she won a CN Tour event in 2007.
"“I have a picture in my mind how I'm going to feel emotionally if I can win again," she said. "I know Ican. It's just a matter of time.
"A couple months [of struggles] is better than a whole year or a whole year is better than a couple years."
No Canadian has won the Canadian Women's Open since Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973. No Canadian has won on the LPGA Tour since Lorie Kane in 2001. No Canadian has been close to winning an LPGA event recently. Six Canadians – Sharp, Kane, Jessica Shepley, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Isabelle Beisiegel and Stephanie Sherlock– competed in the event near Portland, Ore., last week and none of them survived the 36-hole cut.
The Canadian Women's Open will have 48 of the Top 50 money winners from the LPGA Tour competing this week. Only Pak (shoulder ailment) and Carolina Hedwell (hip injury) will miss the 2012 tournament.