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Short Game: Sophie Kitchen wins women's amateur event

Silhouette of female golfer

Sophie Kitchen went on a birdie barrage Thursday to win the Toronto Star Women's Amateur, one of Canada's most prestigious amateur events.

The 18-year-old from Collingwood, Ont., defeated Vivian Tsui of Markham, Ont., 2 and 1 at Barrie Country Club in Barrie, Ont. Kitchen, a member of Ontario's under-19 amateur team, made five birdies in the final round and overcame a 1-down disadvantage at the turn.

As well as Kitchen played, she benefitted earlier in the tournament from the surprise elimination of Brogan McKinnon, the highest-ranked player in the field (world No. 196). The Mississauga teen breezed through the stroke-play portion of the event, setting a course record of 65 in the first of two rounds, but was upset in the match-play segment by Corey Crossan of London, Ont. Kitchen then beat Crossan to reach the final.

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MIRACLE GOLF DRIVE: The annual Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids this week raised $440,000 for McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton.

Weir gave a surprise gift of $100,000 after the two-day charity tournament at Hamilton Golf and Country to take the total to $440,000.

The money is to be used to fund a second angiography suite at the hospital.


MARCH MADNESS OF GOLF: The PGA Championship of Canada cut its field in half Tuesday in a golf version of March Madness.

The top 64 club professionals from across Canada descended on Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ont., this week to compete in the championship, which crowns its winner the same way as the NCAA determines its national basketball champion – with six rounds of matches in which the loser goes home and the winner advances.

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The PGA Championship of Canada has four flights – named after some of Canada's golf icons – and the top seeds in all four survived the opening round Tuesday.

Brian McCann, Danny King, Dave Levesque and Mike Belbin all advanced to the Round of 32 Wednesday. King has the home-field advantage this week – his teaching academy is based at Magna.

In addition to the $100,000 purse and P.D. Ross Trophy, a berth in the PGA Tour's RBC Canadian Open is up for grabs.

The leader of the PGA of Canada's order of merit after the championship earns a berth. McCann leads the points race at the moment but anyone inside the top 10 could jump to No. 1 with a victory at Magna.

Here's the tournament's bracket, which includes all the matches from the first round Tuesday.


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STARRING ROLE: Brogan McKinnon of Mississauga is on her way to another title at the Toronto Star Women's Amateur.

The 18-year-old, who became the prestigious amateur event's youngest champion in 2010, dusted the field in the event's stroke-play portion and is the top seed entering the match-play portion on Wednesday.

McKinnon shot three-under-par 69 at Barrie Country Club in Barrie, Ont., on Tuesday to take her 36-hole total to 10-under 134. That was 11 shots clear of second-place Vivian Tsui of Markham, Ont.

McKinnon's 65 in the opening round Monday shattered the competitive course record of 70 for women.

Sixteen women advanced to the championship flight of the match-play portion. After four rounds of sudden-death matches, the winner will be crowned Thursday afternoon.


TOP 10 AGAIN: Alena Sharp tied for sixth place Sunday at the Symetra Tour's Four Winds Invitational in South Bend, Ind.

It was the Hamilton native's fourth top-10 finish in four starts this season on the second-tier circuit.

Sharp shot four-under-par 68 in the third and final round Sunday at Blackthorn Golf Club to climb 15 spots on the leader board.

She finished at six under, just two shots behind the winning score.

Sharp, who joined the event in South Bend after not getting into the field of the LPGA Tour's NW Arkansas Championship, moved to No. 6 on the Symetra money list.

The top 10 at the end of the season earn full-time playing cards on the top-tier LPGA. Sharp already has status there but has struggled this year, with six missed cuts in eight starts.

Cydney Clanton of the United States won the Four Winds. She survived a three-woman playoff that went to the seventh extra hole.

Clanton, who made a birdie to win, moved to second place on the money list and is now about $3,000 behind leader Sue Kim of Langley, B.C.

Kim, who has a win and two other top-10s this year, withdrew from the event, citing a wrist injury. She hurt the wrist at the tournament's pro-am last Thursday but said via Twitter on the weekend that she should be better with a few days of rest.


QUARTERED: Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec City was knocked out of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship during the quarter-finals.

Playing at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, her home course while she attends the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Tanguay fell to American Doris Chen in 19 holes.

The last Canadian standing was one of three Canucks in the field at the prestigious amateur event for public course players.

Taylor Schmidt of Kincardine, Ont., was eliminated in the opening round, and A Ram Choi of Surrey, B.C., didn't advance out of the stroke-play portion of the event.

Chen went on to claim the runner-up spot, losing in the final Saturday to fellow American Lauren Diaz-Yi.


FLOODED OUT: The 36-hole Kananaskis Country Golf Course will be closed for the rest of the reason because of the flooding.

The Edmonton Journal's Curtis Stock and Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun were among the journalists to report on the course's closing Sunday. Parts of the course remain submerged and the clean-up is expected to take the rest of the season.

An official announcement was expected soon.

Kananaskis, an hour southwest of Calgary, in the Rocky Mountains, is one of Alberta's most picturesque golf facilities. Its 30-year-old Mount Kidd course was ranked the 44th in the country by ScoreGolf magazine in its 2012 rating of Canada's top-100 courses, while its 29-year-old Mount Lorette layout was No. 53.

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