Loyalist joins Smugglers Glen Golf Course and Upper Canada Golf Course as hosts of the PGA TOUR Canada event, now in its third year.
2012 champ Eugene Wong is in the field, along with a handful of local golfers including defending Canadian Junior Golf Championship winner Austin James. Wong has five top-25 finishes this season, and ranks 10th on PGA TOUR Canada’s Order of Merit.
Meanwhile, James, who is a member at Loyalist will be making his PGA TOUR Canada debut. His sister, Augusta, is the reigning Canadian Women’s Amateur champion.
“We are very excited to provide Austin with an exemption into this year’s event on his home course” said Tournament Director Brad Parkins. “Austin is a fantastic young player and this opportunity will be great for his development and give him experience that will last long after this year’s event concludes.”
Other local players include: Matthew Code (Belleville), Matthew McMahon (Brockville), Josh Whalen (Napanee), Brad Revell (Kingston), and Chris Barber (Kingston).
A notable debut is also set to happen this week as Chris Hemmerich, a former member of Golf Canada’s national team – and graduate of Guelph University – will be making his debut as a professional. Hemmerich captured the Ontario Men’s Amateur championship earlier this summer.
“I’ve had great support as an amateur coming up through the ranks not only as a member of Team Canada but also as a Guelph Gryphon,” said Hemmerich, 21. “I look forward to starting my professional career here at The Great Waterway Classic, and am excited to see what the future holds.”
In 2013, The Great Waterway Classic proved to be an important turning point in the PGA TOUR Canada season. Mackenzie Hughes finished in the top-10, which vaulted him near the top of the Order of Merit. He ended up finishing first on that list and moving on to the Web.com Tour. Last year’s champion, Hugo Leon, also earned Web.com Tour status for this year thanks to his victory.
Loyalist will be beefed up slightly for the visiting TOUR pros, at about 6,900 yards. Geoff James, the head professional and director of sales and marketing, explained the golf course had to add a few tee decks, but for the most part, the golf course will stay the same.
Except if mother nature has something to say.
“A big equalizing factor will be the wind,” explained James in an earlier interview. “If the wind stays down we’ll see some low scores, but if we get the prevailing wind off the lake – which is only 500 meters from the course – guys will really have to manage their ball flight and work hard into the greens.”
Tickets are still available at the golf course.
More information can be found: www.thegreatwaterwayclassic.ca or www.pgatour.com/canada