Saskatchewan

'A dream come true': Saskatoon's Anna Young makes LPGA debut at CP Women's Open

Saskatoon-native Anna Young has always dreamed of playing on the LPGA tour. And when she steps onto the first tee Thursday afternoon at the CP Women’s Open in Regina that dream will be become a reality.

Young, in her third year on the Symetra Tour, got an exemption to play this week

Saskatoon-native Anna Young will make her LPGA debut with long-time friend Danny Klughart as her caddie. (CBC News)

Saskatoon-native Anna Young has always dreamed of playing on the LPGA tour.

And when she steps onto the first tee Thursday afternoon at the CP Women's Open in Regina that dream will be become a reality.

"I'm so excited to be here," Young, 24, said ahead of the tournament's opening round. "My first LPGA event in my home province is just a dream come true."

Young, who is in her third year on the Symetra tour, is one of 14 Canadians who were given exemptions to play in the tournament this week, despite the fact that they didn't officially qualify.

The CP Women's Open is Canada's only stop on the LPGA Tour, and although the Wascana Country Club, where the tournament is being hosted, is two hours from Saskatoon, Young says she still feels at home.

"It is in my backyard," she said in an interview with CBC News.

"Saskatchewan is a very hometown province and I'm just so pumped to be playing my first LPGA event here."

'He's been there for my golf journey'

Young isn't the only one making an LPGA debut. One of her best friends, Danny Klughart, is as well — as her caddie.

Young says she and Klughart have been friends since they were 13, and she used to joke that when she made her LPGA debut he would be her caddie.

Klughart and Young have been friends since they were 13. (CBC News)

"It's really awesome that it actually worked out," she said.

"He's been there for my golf journey and turning pro, so its nice that he's actually going to get to see the top of the pros this week from my perspective and not just me telling him about it."

Young says having a friend by her side as she shifts to the LPGA  from the Symetra tour is crucial.

"Symetra is one step below LPGA, so there are going to be some things that are different and some things that are similar," she said. 

"But, I definitely wanted more similar things than not this week that were in my control … That's why I wanted Danny on the bag."

Brooke Henderson headlines Canadians

The CP Women's Open is a difficult tournament to make a debut, as it typically attracts the top players on tour and has one of the largest prize purses at $2.25 million US. The champion will take home $337,500.

This year's competitors will include Canadian star Brooke Henderson and three-time CP Women's Open champion Lydia Ko.

Canada's Brooke Henderson, right, with her sister Brittany as caddie, size up a putt during the Pro-Am of the CP Women's Open in Regina on Wednesday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The Wascana Country Club has been transformed over the last few months as the tournament drew closer.

The 18th green has come alive with grandstands and skyboxes where thousands of fans and corporate sponsors will take in the action. The course superintendent also brought in thousands of square feet of grass after a bad winter killed nearly all the fairways and greens. 

"I came up earlier this year to play some of the courses here just to prepare, and they've done a really good job with the winter they had," she said.

"It's really cool to see how different it looks with the grandstands. I'm really excited to see it filled with people."

'One shot at a time'

While the ultimate goal at any tournament is to win, Young says her main goal is to focus on one shot at a time and play her best golf.

"Everyone kept asking me what I was doing different to prepare this week, and I actually didn't do anything different," she said.

"I was just doing everything that I needed to be better to eventually be at this level. And slowly working my way up to be a better golfer is what's going to get me to where I need to go."

Young tees off in her first-round Thursday at 12:15 CST with fellow Canadian Brittney Marchand and Florida-native Daniela Iacobelli.

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