Annika Sorenstam put on a clinic and played for charity at the Magna Golf Club in Aurora. Here, a group of golfers and caddies get a lesson.

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Annika Sorenstam delivers for charity

Ron Albertson / the Hamilton Spectator

CROWD PLEASER. Annika Sorenstam put on a clinic and played for charity yesterday at the Magna Golf Club in Aurora. Here, a group of golfers and caddies get a lesson.

While it would be nice to report that Laura Hildebrandt, 15, of Ancaster beat Annika Sorenstam -- the world's top female golfer -- yesterday in their one-hole match at Magna Golf Club, that wasn't the case.

Sorenstam was at Magna yesterday for the Scotiabank Women's Charity Classic, a one-day event which raised $250,000 for various women's charities.

Part of the festivities saw Sorenstam pitted against teams of four amateur women players and nine of the top-ranked juniors in the province. Each team played a one-hole match against Sorenstam.

Hildebrandt was teamed with media members. To say they weren't good golfers would be charitable.

In fact, when they had to take a shot out of a sand trap, Toronto radio host Erin Davis drew a chuckle from the gallery when she asked in all seriousness if someone would 'swiffer' the sand for her.

Hildebrandt's team bogeyed the hole while Sorenstam made a nice up-and-down from the fringe to save par.

The Grade 10 student at Ancaster High School, who is the fourth- ranked junior in the province, said she wasn't really nervous.

"I was more excited," she said.

Hildebrandt says Canadian Lorie Kane is still her favourite LPGA Tour player but admits she will take away something from her experience with Sorenstam.

"I want to take away her tempo," Hildebrandt says. "It's very steady and I'm going to work on that."

Sorenstam, who also put on a clinic, was asked how she would feel down the road a few years if the teenagers she played against yesterday suddenly appeared on the LPGA Tour and started to beat her.

"I'll know it's time to retire," she said with a laugh.

Sorenstam did say, however, that Hildebrandt and the other juniors are the future of the game.

"A lot of them are very talented and they have great futures," she said. "I remember going to a clinic when I was a teenager and saw an LPGA player and said I want to play on Tour one day.

"I think this is a responsibility we have to share the experience. They are the next generation and we have to make sure that generation is solid and ready so the growth of the game is there."

She said if she had one message to give the young players, it's that their journey in golf is just beginning, they have a long way to go, and that they should enjoy the journey.

Hildebrandt has a busy summer that includes competing in the Ontario Women's Amateur Championship in St. Catharines and the Ontario Junior Girl's Championship at Willow Valley Golf Club in Mount Hope.

gMcKay@thespec.com

905-526-3242

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