Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sharp's Career Year Influenced by Olympic Team Ahead of LPGA Manulife Classic

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sharp's Career Year Influenced by Olympic Team Ahead of LPGA Manulife Classic

Article excerpt

Alena Sharp influenced by Olympic team

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CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - All those practice rounds with Brooke Henderson have rubbed off on Alena Sharp.

At age 35, Sharp is in the midst of a breakout season on the LPGA Tour. She finished fourth at the Canadian Women's Open on Sunday, her second top-10 of the season and her best-ever result on the LPGA Tour. The US$379,657 she has earned this year is almost a quarter of her career winnings.

Now she looks to carry that momentum into her second consecutive tournament in Canada, starting Thursday at the LPGA Manulife Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club.

Sharp credits Olympic teammate Henderson and Canadian national team coach Tristan Mullally for her resurgence. Henderson, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, and Sharp play all of their practice rounds on the LPGA together.

"Seeing her do well, it inspires all of us, not just me but all of us Canadians, knowing that Brooke is doing it, why can't we?" said Sharp of the 18-year-old phenom on Wednesday afternoon. "I think she's raised the bar, and she's positive, aggressive. I love being around her.

"Just very infectious attitude, and I think it's helped me kind of try and be an 18-year-old again and not be afraid of things and to go after it."

Henderson turned pro midway through the 2015 season and she quickly hit it off with Sharp.

"We've become really good friends, especially over the last 18 months and again this year," said Henderson. "We play a lot of practice rounds together. We always seem to catch up at some point during the week. And just really, really good friends. I'm glad to see her doing well and hopefully it will continue."

Sharp outperformed Henderson at the Canadian Women's Open in Calgary, shooting back-to-back birdies to finish with a 5-under par on Sunday in the final round of play. Henderson, who tied for 14th, stood near the final hole to watch Sharp close out her tournament.

"I watched her face on the 18th hole when she finished and you could tell it meant a lot to her," said Henderson. …

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