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Angus Glen Golf Club

Angus Glen Golf Club

Short Game: Angus Glen anticipated Pan Am golf venue Add to ...

Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ont., is expected to be announced soon as the host venue for the inaugural Pan American Games golf tournament in 2015.

The public facility’s South course has been mentioned as the site, most notably last December by Bob Weeks in his blog on ScoreGolf magazine’s website, but never officially announced.

Teddy Katz, director of media relations and chief spokesperson for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am organizing committee, could not confirm Angus Glen as the host this week but said his group is “close to finalizing and announcing our plans” for the tournament.

Angus Glen director of golf Allan McDonell said he couldn’t comment when reached Thursday afternoon.

The Games will use 24 venues for the 36 sports that will be contested in Toronto and area in 2015. Markham will also play host to badminton, table tennis and water polo.

The golf site is one of the few that hasn’t been named. But two sources close to the event this week confirmed that Angus Glen was chosen from among the clubs that put forth bids last year. The Games’ Wikipedia page also lists Angus Glen as the tournament’s home.

The event is expected to be 72 holes of stroke play for 64 players: 16 two-person teams for each of the men’s and women’s divisions.

A final decision on whether the participants will be professional, amateur or a mix of both seems to be behind the delay in making an announcement on the tournament, which has been proposed for July 14 through 17, 2015.

Golf has been added to the Pan Am program for the first time in the multisport event’s history as a sort of warm-up for the game’s return to the Olympics in 2016.

Angus Glen is no stranger to elite competitions. Its South course has held the men’s Canadian Open (2002) and the Canadian Women’s Open (2001), as well as the Telus Skins Game exhibition (2001). Its North course also held the Canadian Open (2007).

Pan Am competitors would get a spiffed up South course. The track is in the early stages of a significant renovation to Doug Carrick’s original design. Workers have begun digging up the irrigation system in anticipation of installing larger pipes that are expected to be more water-efficient.

The bulk of the makeover will be done after the course is shut down for the season on Sept. 1.

The changes, which will be done by England-based architects Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert and largely completed by May 27, 2014, will include moving the tee box on the first hole to create a sight line to the green, adding a pond on the third and 11th holes, transforming the 15th into a drivable par-four and resurfacing the greens. Cosmetic changes are to include replacing some bluegrass with fescue.

The renovation plans were revealed this winter but positioned as a “revitalization” of the popular 18-year-old course that has been a favourite for corporate tournaments and daily-fee players, not as a prep for a major event.

“We feel committed to this course for the long term,” club president Cailey Stollery was quoted as saying in a Markham Economist and Sun story in April. “This will showcase Angus Glen and how great the property is.”

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BAD BACK: Brad Fritsch has withdrawn from the Crowne Plaza Invitational this week to rest his ailing back.

The 35-year-old rookie from Ottawa "probably aggravated it quite a bit" last Friday and Saturday while playing at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tex., he said via Twitter on Wednesday.

He made the first cut at the Byron Nelson last Friday but not the second cut Saturday. He was given credit for tying for 75th.

The back soreness, which he said prevented him from making full swings last week, also prompted him to pull out of the British Open's qualifying tournament last Monday in Dallas.

He said he'll treat his back with rest.

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