Saskatchewan

World's best to tee-off in Regina at LPGA CP Women's Open

The most prestigious women's golf tournament in Canada is coming to Regina in less that two weeks.

The Wascana Country Club will play host to the LPGA tournament from August 20 to 26

Saskatchewan will host an LPGA event for the first time ever. (Matt Howard/CBC News)

The most prestigious women's golf tournament in Canada is coming to Regina in less that two weeks.

The Wascana Country Club is set to play host to the world's top female golfers during the LPGA CP Women's Open from August 20 to 26.

"It's the first time the event is being held in Saskatchewan, coming to our local club which is quite remarkable," said Greg Dukart, the club's CEO.

"It's very special, not any club gets this opportunity."

'Huge recovery process'

The tournament traditionally attracts top players. The $2.25 million US purse is one of the largest on the tour.

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

The tournament is a big opportunity for the city and the local club, but a bad winter almost jeopardized the whole thing, according to Dukart.

"We suffered a really heavy rain storm here in January which pretty much fell on frozen ground," he said.

"When we opened the course in April ... 60 per cent of fairways were dead and 20 per cent of greens were dead, so there's been a huge recovery process."

After a bad winter, much of Wascana Country Club's greens and fairways were "dead." (Greg Dukart/Wascana Country Club)

Dukart said they have brought in over 200,000 square feet of sod to fix the fairways, and 20,000 square feet of bent grass for the greens. 

The fixes for the course have been challenging and expensive.

Dukart said the costs to fix the course were not part of the club's initial budget and it's spending "a fair bit of money" to get the course LPGA ready, but also up to standard for their members to enjoy.

'Potentially the most viewed event ever'

As the tournament approaches, construction crews are also out on the course installing sky boxes and grandstands for fans to watch the action. They will also be building fences, putting up hospitality tents and growing the rough to make the course more challenging. 

As the CP Women's Open draws closer, construction crews are getting the course LPGA ready. (Matt Howard/CBC News)

Dukart estimated the economic impact of the tournament will be between $7,000,000 and $10,000,000, with around 60,000 to 80,000 spectators expected.

The tournament will also be broadcast on the Golf Channel, which reaches hundreds of millions of households across the globe. 

"I think its safe to say it's potentially the most viewed event ever to come to Saskatchewan in the history of our province," said Dukart.

Henderson Canadian Championship

The tournament will also set the stage for a possibly historic moment, as Henderson will aim to be the first Canadian since Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973 to capture the women's national championship.

The 20-year-old has six career wins and one major title at the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Henderson won earlier this year at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii in April.

The Smiths Falls, Ont. golfer aced the par-3, 9th hole during the second round of the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club. 1:16

She dedicated that victory to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, which was involved in an April 6 bus crash that killed 16 people and left 13 others injured.

The Smiths Falls, Ont., native nearly missed the cut at last year's CP Women's Open at her home course in Ottawa, but birdied on her final hole of the second round to qualify for the weekend.

The following day, she fired a course-record 8-under 63 to jump up the leaderboard and eventually finished the tournament tied for 12th.

Henderson said playing in Regina will be a little different than playing in Ottawa where the tournament was hosted last year.

"I knew almost everyone in the crowd it felt like," she said of last year's event.

"But it doesn't really matter where you come from in Canada, you're Canadian, you're part of the family."

With files from Ryan McKenna