Penticton's A.J. Eathorne says itch to compete means taking shot at CP Open

 

 
 
 
 
Years after retiring from the LPGA, A.J. Eathorne hopes to play in the CP Women’s Open.
 
 

Years after retiring from the LPGA, A.J. Eathorne hopes to play in the CP Women’s Open.

Photograph by: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

It was 2009 when Penticton native A.J. Eathorne called it quits on her LPGA Tour playing career.

The game had become a mental grind and wasn’t much fun anymore. She tried caddying for a stretch, and for the past three years has been director of instruction at the Predator Ridge Golf Resort in Vernon. She loves that job and has also come to the realization that she kind of misses her old one, too.

Eathorne’s competitive itch has returned and the 38-year-old former B.C. and Canadian amateur champion hopes to play her way into this summer’s Canadian Pacific Women’s Open at Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam.

“I had some really good rounds this winter and last fall that kind of made me think twice and say why not,” Eathorne says. “I don’t want to do it full-time, but it sure would be fun to go out and play a few.”

Eathorne says her job at Predator has helped put golf in the proper perspective. She spends most of her days working with clients — mainly women — who play the game because they love it.

“I just kind of have that mentality that I’d like to play in some tournaments just to see where I’m at,” she says.

“I’m not as anxious and as uptight about playing golf anymore. That’s where I kind of got in 2008 and ’09. It just wasn’t fun anymore and it has become fun again.

“So I guess it’s about growing older and not worrying as much about things. And I’ve got a good job here at Predator, so there’s not as much stress on my golf game anymore.”

After graduating from New Mexico State University in 1998, Eathorne spent nearly 11 full years on the LPGA Tour and made more than $1 million in prize money.

The last couple of years were not particularly enjoyable.

“I had pretty much checked out mentally, I think,” she says.

Eathorne also had physical issues that affected her play. She says her body is now in much better shape.

“Everything is good,” she says. “No complaints. It was my wrists that kind of went bad for a couple of years. My ball flight has totally changed since I played. It’s a whole new person.”

The $2.25-million Canadian Pacific Women’s Open goes Aug. 20-23 at Vancouver Golf Club. The Monday qualifier is scheduled for Aug. 17 at Pitt Meadows Golf Club.

When the tournament was played at Vancouver Golf Club in 2012, Eathorne caddied for fellow Canadian Alena Sharp. A year earlier, Eathorne was on the bag when Brittany Lincicome won the event in Montreal.

CHARITY NAMED: The winner of the CP Women’s Open will receive $337,000. But BC Children’s Hospital could make a lot more than that. The pediatric cardiology research centre at the Children’s Hospital has been chosen as the charity partner of this summer’s tournament.

CP has set a charity target of $1 million for this year’s event. CP is matching all online donations made to the Children’s Hospital through the end of the event, and there are other initiatives scheduled during tournament week to raise funds.

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES: The tournament’s Monday pro-am at Vancouver Golf Club will feature several Vancouver Canucks alumni. Kirk McLean, Cliff Ronning, Dave Babych, Darcy Rota, Chris Oddleifson and Greg Adams are among those slated to participate.

CHIP SHOTS: The tournament is still seeking volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer, you can sign up at cpwomensopen.com or at vancouvergolfclub.com … Capilano’s Dave Zbrik, Jeff Buder of Point Grey and Richmond Country Club’s Mark Strong all fired 2-under 70s at Richmond CC to win the Srixon Tour season-opener. Each took home $500. … Langley’s Adam Cornelson beat Abbotsford’s Brett Stewart in a playoff to win the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Ledgeview Classic. Both players shot five-under 65s. Cornelson took home first-place money of $1,100, while Stewart earned $800.

bziemer@vancouversun.comTwitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Years after retiring from the LPGA, A.J. Eathorne hopes to play in the CP Women’s Open.
 

Years after retiring from the LPGA, A.J. Eathorne hopes to play in the CP Women’s Open.

Photograph by: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

 
Years after retiring from the LPGA, A.J. Eathorne hopes to play in the CP Women’s Open.
A.J. Eathorne putts for birdie on the ninth hole during the first round of the Canadian Women’s Open at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club on September 3, 2009 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice