Marchand builds confidence at CP Women’s Open

OTTAWA — As Brittany Marchand walked from hole to hole at the CP Women’s Open, she’d sometimes look a little startled when fans called out “Way to go Britt!” or “You’ve got this!” Every time, though, she’d smile and wave or tip her visor at them.

Marchand didn’t have the same mammoth crowds as her fellow Canadian Brooke Henderson, but the 25-year-old from Orangeville, Ont., still got support all around the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. She completed the LPGA event tied for 30th at 3-under par, drawing more fans than she sees on the minor Symetra Tour, her usual circuit.

“I’m a little more used to it now. It’s kind of nice, I think, just to have people behind you and really supporting you,” said Marchand on Sunday. “They’re usually always cheering you on no matter how it goes. But it’s nice to have that support backing you, especially playing at home.”

Marchand, who also played in the LPGA’s Manulife Classic, put together a solid showing at the Women’s Open. Although Henderson won the Sandra Post Medal as the tournament’s low Canadian, Marchand actually had better rounds three of the four days. Henderson, from nearby Smiths Falls, Ont., finished tied for 12th at 7 under on the back of a course-record 8-under 63 in the third round.

“Definitely a confidence builder,” said Marchand, who shot a 2-under 69 on Sunday. ”Especially being able to finish strong today. In Manulife it was different because I was much higher and I dropped. But having that last day, all those nerves and all that stuff today I felt like I handled it way better. It’s just another step forward for me.”

After completing play at the Women’s Open, Marchand went straight on to Sioux Falls, S.D., for the Great Life Challenge. She won her first Symetra Tour title this year and earned her way into the Evian Championship, the final LPGA major of the season.

Events like the Women’s Open, the Manulife Classic and the Evian Championship are showing her that she can hang on the top LPGA Tour while teaching her the little things that it takes to be a professional golfer.

“Just knowing your ins and outs of the clubhouse and where to be, and knowing to remember to bring your credential because there is security,” said Marchand, who was a sponsor exemption for the Women’s Open. “Just those little things that you have to kind of get used to, and they feel very intimidating at first.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have experience at these tournaments that now I feel comfortable walking around and I don’t feel as much of an outsider.”

Marchand wore a yellow ribbon honouring Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Dawn Coe-Jones on her visor throughout the Women’s Open. Coe-Jones lost her battle with bone cancer in November at the age of 56. Although Marchand never met Coe-Jones, she felt it was important to pay her respects to one of the trailblazers of the sport in Canada.

That kind of respect for the game has caught the eye of Lorie Kane, another Canadian Golf Hall of Fame inductee.

“It’s really nice that a kid like Brittany wore the ribbon. It just tells you what kind of kid she is,” said Kane, who considered Coe-Jones a friend and mentor. “I’ve played with Britt, and I know that she’s going to have a long career out here.”

Marchand needs to finish in the top 10 of the money list on the Symetra Tour to earn her LPGA card next season. She she sits 17th at $28,680 with six events to go, including this week’s Great Life Challenge. American Kendall Dye is 10th at $42,850.

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