09/03/2016 03:00 EDT | Updated 09/04/2017 01:12 EDT

Dani Holmqvist relies on Mats Sundin for guidance on and off the golf course

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — Dani Holmqvist is like a lot of kids in southern Ontario — she admires former Toronto Maple Leafs great Mats Sundin.

But she's from Sweden. And she plays golf, not hockey.

Holmqvist heads into the third round of the LPGA Manulife Classic on Saturday morning in a tie for 12th at 5-under par, in contention to finish in the top 10 in her rookie year on the tour. The 28-year-old Holmqvist connected with Sundin through mutual friends last season when she was on the Symetra Tour and now relies on him as a mentor and mental coach.

"I think he's helped me a little with what to focus on in terms of practice and stuff and perhaps a little bit to be more efficient," said Holmqvist on Friday night after stepping off the 18th green at Whistle Bear Golf Club. "I think the biggest thing is that he's definitely made me a better person just by working with him.

"He's a great person to be around, I feel like he's helped me become a better me."

Holmqvist says that Sundin's biggest impact on her has been off the golf course, helping her balance her career with her personal life. Although he's best known for hockey, Sundin also has a love of golf and horses, making him a Renaissance man with a variety of interests.

"I think he's a good mentor to anyone, whether it's golf or horseback riding or stock trading, I think he's a great person to be around," said Holmqvist.

After play wraps up at the Manulife Classic on Sunday, Holmqvist plans to make the trip to downtown Toronto to see Sundin's statue at Legends Row outside of the Air Canada Centre. She's also excited to see the likeness of fellow Swede Borje Salming.


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