Alena Sharp is keenly aware that time is not on her side as a shortened LPGA Tour campaign resumes this week.
The 39-year-old from Hamilton is the only Canadian in the field as the inaugural Drive On Championship tees off on Friday at Inverness Golf Course in Toledo, Ohio. Sharp was ranked 48th on the LPGA Tour before it suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-February.
“It sucks that this is happening towards the end of my career because I’m playing well,” stated Sharp. “I want to just keep riding that momentum for as long as I can until I decide to maybe slow down and retire.”
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After taking just a few weeks off following the 2019 season, Sharp played in three tournaments to kick off the New Year.
She missed the cut at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Raton, Fla., in January, tied for ninth at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in early February and then missed the cut at the Women’s Australian Open.
Sharp, who has been a professional golfer for 15 years, said she is concerned that the dozen tournaments cancelled because of COVID-19 represent a dwindling number of chances to win on the LPGA Tour for the first time.
“I don’t have any injuries or anything like that but there’s a lot of up-and-coming players that are coming out and things happen as you age,” said Sharp.
A silver lining to the time off — the longest off-season Sharp can recall — is that she has been able to put an emphasis on her fitness. Gyms were closed in Arizona, where she lives, but she dedicated herself to outdoor workouts using kettlebells, resistance bands, smash balls and body weight exercises. Sharp and Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., would have been competing for Canada at the Tokyo Olympics this week had it not been for the pandemic.
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Sharp notes that her world ranking should be improving this season because a series of missed cuts will be coming off her record, putting her in an outstanding position to hold on to her Olympic berth for the postponed Tokyo Games.