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August 24, 2010

Alena Sharp


MIKE SCANLAN: Alena, welcome, thanks for waiting. Welcome to the CN Canadian Women's Open, obviously in your native Canada. If you would talk about how excited you are to be here in Winnipeg.
ALENA SHARP: The last time I was in Winnipeg I think was 2004. I played at Elmhurst and I don't remember much about it, but very happy to be here. I played the golf course yesterday and really enjoyed it even though it was blowing so hard out there. But I'm happy to be back in Canada. I get to go have my Tim Horton's coffee, and my parents are coming in tonight, so it feels like I'm at home.
MIKE SCANLAN: You had a great amateur career here, went on to a successful career on the LPGA. How much would a great finish this week mean to you?
ALENA SHARP: Well, it's always very important to me to play well at this event. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself, but I've had a good year this year and I feel like this golf course sets up well for my game, so I'm hoping for a really good finish here this week.

Q. In what way does it set up for your game?
ALENA SHARP: I think you have to drive the ball well here. The rough is a little long this week, so it's going to be key hitting fairways. There's a lot of par-4s that are fairly long, and the course is playing hard and fast, but that means it's going to run out into the rough, and there's just more strategy off the tee. The greens are very large, and you need to know where to hit it, which part of the quadrant of the green to hit it into because some of the putts -- from what I saw yesterday, they looked very challenging, and we don't have a lot of time to know the greens, so I'm just going to have to rely on my caddie for that and have a good practice round today.

Q. How do you try and find that balance between wanting to do well and not putting too much pressure on yourself?
ALENA SHARP: Well, it's hard. Every year I always come in thinking, okay, just think of this as any other event, but you can't do that because everybody wants you to do well. Just, I don't know, I'm -- I put a lot of pressure on myself anyways, so I just try and take it easy at night and get a good night's sleep and come to the course and try to relax before I tee off and have fun out there.

Q. Have you ever talked to Lorie or anybody else from Canada that might (indiscernible).
ALENA SHARP: Lorie and I have never really talked about it. I think all the Canadians go through it; Mike Weir and Stephen Ames go through it, as well. You've just got to get through the week.

Q. To what do you attribute your success this year?
ALENA SHARP: I've been striking the ball very well, hitting it in the fairway, hitting a lot of greens. I started working with the Stocktons in March this year on my putting, and I've putted better this year, and I think that's what the difference is. My short game is also a little bit better, getting up-and-down more. I would say that's the huge difference from last year.

Q. Is there much point to practicing today, yesterday, when the wind is blowing so hard and cold and when the forecast looks to be fairly pleasant for tournament days?
ALENA SHARP: Well, you just never know what's going to happen, weather changes. Yeah, it might be nice the rest of the week, but you've got to be prepared for everything. Yesterday the wind was stronger than it was at the British. Coming into Winnipeg, I arrived yesterday morning at 10:00, and the captain says, well, we have gusty winds coming in, so you need to have your seatbelt on. It was 30 minutes before we landed. And got to the range, and it's really strong.
It was good for me because I needed to work on hitting off-balance shots so I feel more comfortable now, and if it does get windy this weekend I'll know how to handle it. So I've played the course in wind and then I'll play the pro-am tomorrow and hopefully it won't be as windy, so I'll see the course in both conditions.

Q. One of the trends in pro golf especially these days is for tournaments to have a drivable par-4. I know last week they moved the tees up one day at Pumpkin Ridge, and I think the 17th at Oakmont they moved the tees up for you at the Open one day. Is there a hole out here they could do that on?
ALENA SHARP: No. 3 yesterday was downwind and the tee was in the middle of the tee box and hit driver to the front bunker. But it's a green that it's a risk-reward because if you hit it to the right, which most people will probably do if they hit their driver because you stand on the tee and all you see is trees; you have to go over the trees. You miss it to the right, the green is pitched at you and there's a tier and bunkers. I think that hole if they move the tee up a little bit maybe you could hit it with a 3-wood. But it's just like a risk-reward thing.
My caddie and I talked about it, and we're probably just going to lay it back, just hit a sand wedge into the green and control it.

Q. What does this tournament mean to you?
ALENA SHARP: Well, to me it's like the U.S. Open. It's our U.S. Open here in Canada, and it's really important to me, and my parents come every year. I like playing in front of them. I enjoy going to the different provinces to play every year. It's a huge thing.
MIKE SCANLAN: We want to thank you for coming in, and good luck in your home Open.

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