Friday, May 25, 2018
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Sharp off to good start


Alena Sharp lines up a putt on the 18th yesterday at Highland Meadows. A new, shorter putter helped her shoot 6-under 65.

Jeremy Wadsworth Enlarge

Alena Sharp admitted she felt like she was "walking on the clouds" yesterday at Highland Meadows Golf Club. She's careful to temper her emotions, though.

Less than a month ago, Sharp was in the same position, in second place after one round.

But by the end, she didn't even place in the top 50.

Sharp, from Hamilton, Ont., shot a six-under 65 to finish two back of Se Ri Pak in the opening round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

"It's only Thursday, and I don't want to get ahead of myself," Sharp said. "I don't really think about the future. I always stay in the present."

The difference between last month at the Wegmans LPGA event and now could be a new putter. Sharp got a new, shorter one on Tuesday and promptly made seven birdies. The putter requires her to lean over more than she is used to.

"I feel really weird standing over it still, but it worked, so I'm not going to question it," Sharp said.

Sharp made birdies on four of the first five holes, including three through five. She birdied 14, 15 and 18 on the back nine.

A bogey on No. 8 was one of just two times she didn't hit the green in regulation. The other time, on 16, she putted from the fringe.

So far this year, Sharp's best finish in 13 tournaments was in the first event of the season - 11th at the SBS Open. Her only other top 25 finish was at the Ginn Tribute last month.

Sharp was second after shooting a 67 in the first round of the Wegmans on June 21 in Pittsford, N.Y. But she was in the 70s the next three days and finished tied for 64th.

"My goal this week is just to finish the tournament well," Sharp said. "I know I can shoot these numbers and I just want to keep doing it for four days, not just for one."

Sharp is non-exempt and is in her second full year on the tour. Last year she made 11 cuts, her best finish a 17th, and $97,422 in earnings.

She said she used last season to figure out how to make the cut in tournaments and this year she feels she's ready to win.

"All of my skills are really good right now," Sharp said. "My chipping gets better every week. I made a lot of putts today and I haven't been doing that lately. It was nice to see the ball rolling in the hole."

Sharp is ranked in the top 30 on tour in greens in regulation, which means she's had a lot of birdie putts available. Her putting stats are not as good, however, just making the top 80 at 1.85 per green.

"That's the way my year has been. I have had all of these putts and I just haven't made them," Sharp said. "It seems like they go in all in one round, so hopefully that will keep going the rest of the week."

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

or 419-724-6160.

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