When Alena Sharp teed it up last year at the 2022 Carlisle Women’s Golf Classic, it was her first time competing on the Epson Tour since 2014. Sharp was battling it out on the LPGA Tour between Epson starts, collecting nine top-10 finishes in the eight-year span. Now, Sharp is a dual member on the LPGA and Epson Tours, making four appearances on the LPGA Tour in 2023, making three cuts.
The Epson Tour is where Sharp has showcased the quality of her game. The Canadian has only played in 11 out of the 19 possible events for the season and is currently No. 12 in the Race for the Card, only $2,000 behind a top 10 spot. In her 11 starts, she has not missed a cut and is a combined 72-under in her last nine tournaments played on the Epson Tour. The LPGA Tour veteran picked up her second career Epson Tour victory during that stretch of play at the Champions Fore Change Invitational and added four additional top-10 finishes.
“My game just feels great right now,” said Sharp. “Before Copper Rock, I was not really happy with my game and how I have been playing. I shot 73 my first day, and then the next day, I shot a 65, then a 64 and was almost in a playoff to win the tournament. Ever since that tournament, I have just had the confidence to go low; I changed my flight from a draw to a fade with my new coach, Pete Lockett, and have just really loved how I am hitting it.”
The 42-year-old still has major goals for her career, and getting back to the LPGA Tour is just the beginning. Sharp is the first to admit she did not play up to her standards in her last season on the LPGA Tour in 2021, but like any great athlete, she was not going to give up after a setback.
“To be honest, in 2021, I just had a terrible season, and I didn’t want to end my LPGA playing career like that,” explained Sharp. “I took three months off and came back last year and started putting better. Putting was a huge thing in 2021 that really derailed me, but I feel like I got all the parts of my game working this year. I still want to play for a couple more years, give myself a shot of getting on to the Olympic team for Canada next year, play the tournaments I want to play in and retire on my own terms.”
Sharp is now in a “chase” after falling outside the top 10 heading into the final three events. She has been in the top 10 for the majority of the season, and admittedly, she started to feel a little pressure last week.
“To be honest, last week I didn’t start off well on Friday, and I was feeling it. I was feeling the stress being No. 10 last week,” said Sharp. “Now that I am outside the top 10, I feel like am in a chase. I have a little less pressure and if I don’t get into the top 10, I am going to Q-Series. I don’t have to put the pressure on myself to make top 10 because If I don’t, I am not going to quit. I think the chase is on and I think this a great golf course for me.”
Sharp tees off the first round of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout on Friday, September 20, at 8:25 a.m. CT as she works to make her way back into the Race for the Card Top 10.