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.”
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.
Fritsch has had a solid first season on the PGA Tour, making the cut in 11 of his 15 starts. He has one top-10 finish and has collected about $334,000 (U.S.) in winnings, which puts him at No. 119 on the tour's money list.
He's been an iron man, playing pretty much every week he's been eligible.
But his play hasn't been stellar lately. His best finish in his past three starts was a tie for 68th spot.
With Fritsch absent, Canada will be represented by David Hearn and Graham DeLaet at the CPI, which begins Thursday at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Tex.
ON FIRE: For anyone wondering when Nick Taylor’s professional career might bust out, this might be it.
The former amateur star, whose 2 1/2 years as a pro have been relatively quiet, has been unbeatable this month on the Vancouver Golf Tour.
Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., won his third consecutive event on the B.C. mini-tour Tuesday, beating a strong field that included most of the province’s best young touring pros and accomplished stalwarts such as Bryn Parry.
He posted a two-day total of 11-under-par 131 at Chilliwack Golf Club to complete his hat trick, which began in Pitt Meadow on May 8 and continued at another Chilliwack course on May 17.
All three are considered “majors” on the VGT, western Canada’s strongest mini-tour.
During his run of victories, Taylor was 37 under on the 108 holes he played. He holds the top spot on the money list.
The 25-year-old was No. 1 in the amateur world ranking for 21 weeks and won the Ben Hogan Award in 2010 as the top U.S. college player before leaving amateur golf. But his pro career has been slow to take off, at least given his pedigree.
He hasn’t made much of his limited starts on the PGA and Web.com Tours and his only full-time gig this year is on the third-tier PGA Tour Canada.
But if his play lately is any indication, he’s ascending – and just in time for the peak of the golf season.
He’s entered in one of the final qualifying tournaments June 3 for the U.S. Open and is expected to begin his PGA Tour Canada season at its season opener in Victoria on June 6.
He has said he hopes to finish in the top five of the Canadian circuit’s money list this season to earn a promotion to the second-tier Web.com Tour.
HUSKY HEROES: It’s not only been a good week for Taylor but also his alma mater.
Chris Williams of the University of Washington won the 2013 Ben Hogan Award on Monday.
That’s the same school Taylor attended and the same award he scored in his senior year.
Taylor and Williams were teammates. They’re the only two Huskies to win the award in its history.
CHOI THE CHOICE: Albin Choi of Toronto was among the final 10 players under consideration for the Ben Hogan Award.
He will have to content himself with being named the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.
As his school’s website noted, Choi joins PGA Tour member Tim Clark (1997) and Web.com Tour player Matt Hill (2009) as the only three golfers from North Carolina State to have earned the honour.
Choi, who won five tournaments this season to bring his college career total to nine, plans to turn professional this summer.
FLAGGING HOPES: It looks increasingly likely that Canada won't be represented at the Open Championship in July.
None of the three Canadians entered in the America qualifying tournament Monday in Dallas advanced to the Open, which will be played at Muirfield in Scotland.
Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., was the low Canadian at Gleneagles Golf and Country Club on Monday. He tied for 17th place after shooting even-par 140 at the 36-hole qualifier, four shots shy of the last available berths.
Just the top eight finishers Monday moved on to the Open. They were: medalist Josh Teater, Johnson Wagner, Camilo Villegas, Scott Brown, Brian Davis, Robert Karlsson, Luke Guthrie and Bud Cauley.
David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., tied for 33rd place and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., withdrew after shooting 78 in his first round Monday.
Brad Fritsch of Ottawa pulled out on the weekend to rest his ailing back and focus on his next PGA Tour start, this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Texas.
The field for the 142nd Open is largely set, although another handful of entrants will be added at the final European qualifier on June 24.
The are a few other berths available based on performance on the PGA and European tours, but no Canadians are close to those criteria at the moment.
BUZZING UP: Angela Buzminski of Oshawa, Ont., tied for third place Sunday at the Symetra Tour’s Friends of Mission Charity Classic.
It was the Canadian veteran’s 30th career top-10 finish on the second-tier circuit, and her cheque for $6,056 (U.S.) took her into third place on the Symetra’s all-time money list, passing Jan Kleiman.
With about $185,000 in career winnings, she’s roughly $40,000 shy of No. 1 Lori Atsedes.
Buzminski, who’s been on the Symetra Tour since 1995 and has also had a couple of stints on the top-tier LPGA Tour, finished the Friends of Mission at seven-under-par 209, six shots behind runaway winner Giulia Molinaro. It was the Italian’s first Symetra victory.
Buzminski was the low Canadian but not the only one to cash a decent cheque.
Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., shared seventh place with two others, at five under, to post her second top 10 of the season. She was coming off a victory last week on the CN Canadian Women’s Tour in her home province.
Izzy Beisiegel of St. Hilaire, Que., tied for 14th spot at three under and Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ont., was another stroke back tied for 21st.
MIXED BLESSING: Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., was the top Canadian at the LPGA Tour’s Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala. In her season debut on the big tour, she tied for 34th place and collected a cheque for $7,053.
But her success came at a price. The regular on the Symetra Tour missed the Friends of Mission and slipped one spot on the season money list, to No. 5.
The top 10 at the end of the year earn promotions to the LPGA Tour.
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