Canada’s Henderson, Sharp Receive Olympic Golf Teammates Scout Report
Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp head to the women’s golf tournament at the Tokyo Olympics after learning valuable lessons from the experiences of their male teammates.
Sharp, his younger brother and wife Sarah Bowman, along with coach Brett Saunders rode the Kasumigaseki Country Club course on Friday, following compatriots Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes around the Olympic course in the second round of the men’s tournament.
Sharp and Henderson then got a hole-to-hole breakdown from Golf Canada’s National Men’s Team Coach Derek Ingram. Perhaps more importantly, the two Canadians spoke to Conners and Hughes before returning to North America to resume their PGA Tour seasons.
Their teammates ‘advice was simple: let’ er rip.
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“This week it’s freewheeling. It’s the top three, it’s the big thing here,” said Sharp, who also played 27 practice holes on Sunday and Monday. “There is no cup, there is no money list, there are no points, so it gives you a chance to free him and chase him.”
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Henderson, ranked No.8 in the world, said she was thrilled to go on the very first tee.
Hughes and Conners had played more conservatively in the first two rounds of the men’s tournament, but found themselves in the middle of the 60-man field, just below par after 36 holes.
In Saturday’s third round, both Canadians decided to play more aggressively and it paid off, pushing them up the standings.
Calculated risk-taking continued to bear fruit for Conners, who shot an Under-65 on Sunday to finish 13th, five shots behind gold medalist Xander Sc Heaterele and two shots out of a qualifying berth for the bronze medal at seven.
Hughes struggled in the fourth round, scoring a 4-of-75 to place 50th.
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These hard lessons learned by Conners and Hughes are not lost on their female counterparts.
“They were more successful when they pushed to birdies and hit the driver on the tees than they didn’t do the first two laps,” said Henderson. “I think you can learn a lot from this and I hope we can take these smart risks and I hope they pay off.”
The two tournaments are a field of 60 players, without cup. Olympic qualification rules state that a country can send a maximum of four players, with most nations sending only two.
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In theory, this makes the field weaker than an average LPGA Tour event, but neither Sharp nor Henderson take the opposition lightly.
“From a standings standpoint it may seem lower, but all of the players here are still extremely talented,” said Henderson, who said the Olympics were like a major sixth.
“They are here for a reason and that is to stand on the podium and represent their country.”
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Sharp noted that all of the best players are still on the pitch, including all of the big winners. She highlighted the men’s tournament where Slovakian Rory Sabbatini shot a score of under 10-61 in the fourth round to move up 15 places in the standings and win silver.
“Everyone is capable of what’s here,” Sharp said. “We’ll see how it goes. Just like what Brooke said, get in a good position and do a lot of birdies and we’ll see how it all goes on our last lap on Saturday.”
Sharp will be the first of the two Canadians to start on Wednesday, playing the first and second rounds in a group with Malaysia’s Kelly Tan and Dutch Anne van Dam. Henderson will start her round 44 minutes later in a group with American Lexi Thompson and Yuka Saso of the Philippines.