Canadian Open raises more than $500K for children’s hospital



Marc Bence/For Metro Edmonton


Lorena Ochoa holds up the trophy after winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club.


Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa wasn’t the only winner at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.

Some tournament organizers believe the real winners are the young patients of Stollery Children’s Hospital, which scored a $505,000 cheque from CN Rail officials yesterday through the Open’s CN Miracle Match program.

“Edmonton is truly a sports city and you can see that by the amount of people that came here,” said Sean VanKesteren, tournament director for the CN Canadian Women’s Open.

For the CN Miracle Match, two golf enthusiasts paid thousands to carry the clubs of Canadian LPGA star Lorie Kane and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky on Wednesday, with other donations putting the take over the half-million-dollar mark.

Organizers say Edmonton is also a winner because the CN Canadian Women’s Open attracted 1,500 volunteers who helped make the event a huge success.

“The volunteers run the event for us, and that’s about as simple as it gets,” said VanKesteren.

“It’s very apparent that we had some of the best volunteers at this event. We also get a lot of volunteers that travel with us and they just love the LPGA.”

While many volunteers worked six-hour shifts each day, many said the work was well worth it since they got to meet and greet a number of the world’s best women golfers.

“I had a chance to speak with several of the players and I think they were all very nice people,” said senior Don Gaylord, who spent most of the time during the tournament at the front gates as a security guard.

“All the volunteers will say that this was a privilege to be a part of.”

Hundreds of thousands of fans also flooded the Royal Mayfair Golf Club over the week-long event, right through yesterday’s final round.

No official word has been made yet on the total attendance during the Open, but VanKesteren says it’s enough to bring back another event into the River City.

“Every time something like this comes into Edmonton you will always learn a few things about what you can do better or change,” said VanKesteren.

“Although, I think we did things 98 per cent right the first time.”