A trio of British Columbia golfers have been given exemptions into the 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open at The Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam, B.C. later this month.
Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, and Sue Kim of Langley were among seven additions into Canada's National Women's Open Championship which includes Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que., Isabelle Beisiegel of Sainte-Hilaire, Que., Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ont. and Brittany Marchand of Orangeville, Ont.
They bring the total to 14 Canadians who will be looking to become the first woman to win an LPGA Tour event on home soil since Jocelyne Bourassa did in 1973. That list includes LPGA regulars Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ont., Lorie Kane of Charlottetown, P.E.I., Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Richmond Hill, Ont., Maude-Aimée LeBlanc of Sherbrooke, Que. and Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont.
Richdale, a former collegiate standout and B.C. Amateur champion, will be making her fourth Canadian Women's Open start, looking to improve upon her tie for 75th last year in Montreal. She has yet to make a cut in five LPGA events this season.
Dreher, a rookie on the LPGA Tour who will be making her fourth Canadian Open start, finished tied for fourth at a recent Symetra Tour event and competed earlier this year in the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
Kim, a two-time B.C. Junior champion, has been competing primarily on the Symetra Tour in 2012, making the cut in six of eight events and posting three top-10 finishes including a tie for sixth at the Tate & Lyle Players Championship in mid-June. She recently made the cut at the 2012 U.S. Women's Open for the second consecutive year and will be competing in her fourth CN Canadian Women's Open.
Juneau is a former Quebec Amateur champion and a graduate of Golf Canada's National Amateur Golf Team Program. She has a pair of top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour this year including a tie for second at the season-opener.
Beisiegel, who made headlines in 2011 when she earned non-exempt status on the Canadian Tour, has one top-10 finish on the Symetra Tour and has a tie for 59th in two LPGA Tour events this season.
Kirby will be making her third Canadian Women's Open start. She picked up two NCAA wins this past season before helping the University of Alabama to the women's championship. Canada's top ranked amateur female finished tied for second at the Ontario Women's Amateur Championship and 12th at the recent Royale Cup Canadian Women's Amateur Championship.
Marchand, who defeated Kirby at the Ontario Women's Amateur Championship, will be making her first career start in the Canadian Women's Open. She became the first player at NC State to win multiple events in a single season before going on to finish tied for sixth at the NCAA championships.
Earlier this year, five players earned tournament exemptions by way of the CN Canadian Women's Tour, including event winners Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, B.C., Candace Schepperle of Birmingham, Ala., and Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont. As well, Hye-Min Kim of San Diego, Calif., and Korea's So Yeon Park earned a spot in the tournament through their Order of Merit exemptions.
A world-class field of 156 players will compete for the $2 million purse including defending champion Brittany Lincicome, world No. 1 Yani Tseng, U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi and past CN Canadian Women's Open champions Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Katherine Hull and Michelle Wie. Teenage sensation Lexi Thompson will also be joined in the field by Lydia Ko of New Zealand, the number one ranked amateur player in the world.
Tickets to the event can be purchased online, at www.cncanadianwomensopen.com, or by calling 1-866-571-5742.