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Star-studded field to play 12th Canadian Open
August 21, 2012

The LPGA Tour continues its Northwest swing as it crosses over the border this week to Coquitlam, British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver, for the second Canadian event of the year. The 12th annual CN Canadian Women's Open will feature a field of 156 players at The Vancouver Country Club, vying for a $2 million purse and a $300,000 first-place prize.

This week's star-studded field includes all of the previous 2012 tournament winners and the majority of the world's top-25 golfers. Among them are Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng and last week's winner, Mika Miyazato.

Miyazato, who is ranked No. 10 in the world, became the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2012 season after boasting an 11-under par finish at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. She held the lead in all three rounds of the 54-hole event and only needed a tap-in for par on the 18th hole to secure a 2-stroke win over Brittany Lincicome and Inbee Park. This marks her fourth top-5 finish in the last seven events and she's also had two ties for seventh at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and the U.S. Women's Open.

There is one thing that Brittany Lincicome (@brittany1golf) has yet to do in her already successful LPGA career and that is defend one of her titles.

The 26-year-old will try to do just that this week at the CN Canadian Women's Open. Last year, Lincicome captured her second title of the 2011 season when she shot a 2-under 70 in the final round to outlast 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open champion Michelle Wie and friend Stacy Lewis by one stroke. But that victory came outside Montreal at the Hillsdale Golf and Country Club, a different venue from where they'll be playing this week.

So does changing golf courses make for a different feel when you're the defending champion of an event?

"It is different, but it's the same," Lincicome said. "Every single person that comes up to me, "We want you to defend." It's so great signing autographs and having that kind of feel to it. It obviously is a different golf course. I think it is going to be a little easier defending not playing the same golf course because it's not the same pressure. I haven't played this golf course eight times, back to back to back. It's a little different. Not as much pressure, I think.

"But it's still cool to see your posters everywhere you go. I'm staying at the hotel with my pictures all over the walls, so that's very cool. Brings back a lot of good memories.

Lincicome, who finished runner-up last week at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, will now try to make some good memories at the Vancouver Golf Club this week. The Seminole, Fla. native got a chance to play the golf course during a pro-am on Monday and said that it's not necessarily a course that will favor a certain type of golfer.

"It's pretty much an equalizer," Lincicome said. "It's not long by any means. I mean the par-5's, I know I can get to two of them, so it's not a long hitter's golf course. I hit a lot of 3-woods. Even somebody like Ai Miyazato who hits it 200 yards off the tee, but it's dead straight every time and she can putt lights out.

"It's more going to be whoever can get it close to the green and close to the pin and who can putt it with the fewest strokes is going to win this week for sure. I don't think you need to be a long hitter by any means this week."

After a two-month struggle to find her game again, a glimpse of the old Yani Tseng came out last weekend at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. Firing rounds of 70-67-73 put her at 6-under for the tournament and an 11th place finish, a place she hasn't seen since early June. She proclaims with a new confidence in her game that she is ready to take on The Vancouver Golf Club and the rest of the season in full force.

"Yani is back," Tseng said. "I think the new Yani is coming out, too. I just feel like I know so much different ways. I've been struggling a lot. I've been on the top, and maybe this will be good to start a good year again, because we still have a lot of tournaments to go, and I'm very excited and very much looking forward for this tournament and in the future.

"I just feel really appreciative. I've never been that happy to shoot 5-under ever in my life. So it's a great feeling."

Tseng was deemed unbeatable coming into the 2012 season with 15 career victories in her five-year career. She even held on to her lead in the Rolex Rankings despite her two-month struggle. Although still a youngster on Tour, many say she is comparable to many LPGA greats like Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. But Tseng doesn't seem to think so.

"I still have a long way to go," Tseng said. "I don't think I'm close to them. Maybe after ten years you ask me this question and I can answer you. But now we have so many good players on the Tour. Every player can win a tournament. You never know. It's really different from before."

Tseng claims that the only thing she would like to be compared to Sorenstam is her demeanor on and off the course.

"When Annika was on the Tour, she was winning like many years and that's very incredible," Tseng said. "She's my role model. I wish in five years, ten years, I wish I can be like her. Just playing good golf and being a good person, and helping out so many things outside of golf and on the Tour. That's kind of my goal.

There seems to be something about the CN Canadian Women's Open that brings out the best in Michelle Wie. The recent Stanford University graduate captured her second LPGA Tour victory at the 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open in Winnipeg and then finished runner-up to Brittany Lincicome here in 2011, falling just one stroke shy of victory.

So what is it about this event that allows Wie to deliver such great performances?

"I love playing golf up in Canada," Wie said. "I absolutely love it up here. I think the crowds are just so nice. The people are just so nice here. We play different golf courses, but all of the golf courses we go to are topnotch golf courses and always in perfect condition. Being my first time in Vancouver, I got really excited. I got to see a little bit of town yesterday, so I'm having a blast so far."

Wie spent Monday touring around downtown Vancouver with stops in Yaletown and Chinatown among others. It was a chance for her to visit a new city and explore a part of Canada that she hadn't seen before. Based on her comments, it sounds like Wie has enjoyed the trip so far.

"It's like Asian food heaven," Wie said with a laugh.

While the 2012 season has been what Wie describes as her "toughest year so far," she is coming off a solid performance at the Safeway Classic last week. She posted rounds of 69-70-69 to finish eighth, which was her first top-10 performance this year.

"I think always where I've struggled is with being consistent," Wie said. "I think that right now I definitely have gained a lot of confidence from last week which I'm definitely going to carry over to this week. I don't know. Just being consistent, going through every day and being comfortable out there and being confident in what I'm doing and being aggressive. That's really just what I'm focusing on this week."

With the recent scrutiny of the strict rules of membership at the August International Golf Club, LPGA players were buzzing yesterday after hearing the news of the course admitting its first female members. Although it doesn't directly affect the LPGA, the players believe that history was made and the future of women's golf looks much brighter.

"Yeah, it's great," Brittany Lincicome said. "Not only for women's golf, it shows how much the world is changing and evolving. It doesn't matter if you're the CEO of another company, it empowers women. It's not a man's world as much anymore. It doesn't have to be about golf. It can be whatever job you do. It's really cool to see that it's kind of in my era that I was a part of this. I think it's amazing. I think it's awesome."

A select few LPGA players have had the opportunity to play at the home course of the Masters Golf Tournament including Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb. After the announcement of this news Lincicome, Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie hope this means they get a chance to play as well.

"I've never played Augusta, so if any of those nice ladies want to invite me out to play, that would be amazing," Lincicome said.

"I always hit it straight. Don't worry (laughing). If I'm in the rough and you see me, then I meant to hit it there. It's a better angle, I'm sure. Strategy." – Brittany Lincicome joking about the need to hit it straight this week.

CN CANADIAN WOMEN'S OPEN
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