Fitzsimmons goes wire-to-wire, repeats as Men’s Mid-Am champion
Thornhill, Ontario - August 26: at the 2022 Canadian Men's Mid-Amateur Championship at The Thornhill Club
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Vogan/SPORTDAD Sports Photography
Golf New Brunswick
THORNHILL, Ont – Charles Fitzsimmons could not have scripted a better homecoming if he tried.
The North York, Ont. product carded an even-par 70 to win the 2022 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship at his home course, The Thornhill Club in Thornhill, Ont.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Fitzsimmons.
With the win, the 35-year-old defends his title from 2021 at Fort McMurray Golf Club in Fort McMurray, Alta., and once again etches his name in the President’s Cup.
“[This one] feels even better,” said Fitzsimmons. “To do it here, to defend… it’s hard to put into words right now, it’s still kind of sinking in but it’s pretty special. This place has meant so much to me, to my family and to be able to win here is just awesome.”
Fitzsimmons grabbed a share of the lead in Tuesday’s opening round and didn’t falter. A steady diet of birdies and pars outweighed the few bogeys he made en route to the national championship. Rounds of 68, 67, 70 and 70 – all even par or better – totalled for a score of 5-under-par 275 and a five-stroke triumph.
On Friday, the lead slipped down to no less than three strokes, but even at that, Fitzsimmons says he was feeling the nerves.
“There were moments where I felt really calm and in control and good, and then moments where I felt nervous and a little more uncertain about how things were going to go,” said Fitzsimmons. “It was definitely a bit of a mental grind at times but, again, I just always felt the warmth and the support from the Club and there’s so many great members here, it was able to bring me back.”
With the win, Fitzsimmons ears an exemption into the 2023 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.
Curtis Markusson was crowned champion of the Men’s Mid-Master division – a subdivision for players 40 and over – and with it, was awarded the Canadian Men’s Mid-Master Trophy.
“Well, I feel old, but also it feels great because like I said earlier, it takes a thousand swings to get here, and it’s on the bucket list so it’s quite emotional,” said Markusson.
Admittedly, it wasn’t the 41-year-old’s best round of golf, but he held on to win by one stroke over Rob Couture (Dallas, Texas) and Mike Dinner (Burlington, Ont.). Markusson says he knew exactly where he stood in crunch time.
“We’re leaderboard watchers whenever you’re in the thick [of things],” said the Gimli, Man. native. “We figured we have to grind in, and we saw some mistakes and knew that we’d just have to bring it in, but the stressful three pars coming in isn’t easy.”
Markusson got up-and-down for par out of the greenside bunker on No. 17 and rolled in a two-foot par putt on No. 18 to clinch the title.
Warren Sellors, of Hudson, Que., finished as this year’s runner-up at even-par on the tournament. Sellors’ 4-under-par 66 in Wednesday’s second round matched the low score of the week and propelled him up the leaderboard. He closed the competition with a 1-under 69 to vault into second place.
Brett Nymeyer (+2), Ryan Tsang (+3) and Barrett Jarosch (+4) round out the top five. The top-10 finishers and ties will earn a direct exemption into the 2023 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship at a location to be determined.
Earlier in the week, On Wednesday, Team Ontario claimed the R. Bruce Forbes Trophy as champions of the Interprovincial Team competition. The victory marked the sixth consecutive provincial title for Ontario and 16th in the 29-year history of the team event.
TORONTO — RBC today announced its new sponsorship as a Global Partner of Women’s Golf Day (WGD) and lead sponsor of the inaugural WGD RBC Toronto event, taking place June 7 at the historic Scarboro Golf and Country Club. The Women’s Golf Day movement, recognized each year in June, includes more than 1,000 events in over 80 countries, and celebrates women and girls learning valuable skills that will empower them on and off the golf course.
With a shared vision of advancing the game of golf for women, RBC is proud to partner with WGD, a global network of women dedicated to supporting golf and one another in the pursuit of excellence in the game. As lead sponsor of the WGD Toronto event, RBC will help provide new and experienced golfers across the greater Toronto area with resources, networking opportunities and access to the game.
“We are thrilled to partner with Women’s Golf Day for the launch of the inaugural WGD RBC Toronto event and to further our commitment to supporting women in sport,” said Shannon Cole, Vice-President, Brand Marketing, RBC. “WGD’s passion for championing the advancement of women in golf is inspiring, and we are excited to be joining their incredible global network.”
“As Women’s Golf Day continues to evolve and expand globally, we are excited to welcome RBC, an organization that shares our passion for advancing women through the sport of golf,” said Elisa Gaudet, Founder of Women’s Golf Day. “We look forward to launching this initiative in Toronto and continuing to empower Canadian women to get involved in golf no matter what their level and explore the benefits for themselves, family and friends.”
Golfers can participate in the WGD global initiative by registering for the Toronto event, taking place on Tuesday, June 7 at Scarboro Golf and Country Club from 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST. The event will include a panel discussion featuring prominent women in the sport including Canadian Golf Hall of Fame Member Lorie Kane, a choice of participation in either a 9-hole shotgun game or golf clinic, as well as networking opportunities with leading golf industry professionals.
Additionally, event participants will receive complimentary tickets courtesy of Golf Canada, to the RBC Canadian Open taking place from June 6-12 at the iconic St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke. Tickets to the WGD event are limited and registration will close once all spots have been filled.
“Scarboro Golf and Country Club is thrilled to host the Toronto event for Women’s Golf Day and to partner with RBC and WGD on this amazing initiative,” said Carol-Ann Goering, Chief Operating Officer, Scarboro Golf and Country Club. “Our Club aims to engage a diverse community of golfers and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the WGD network this June.”
RBC is a proud supporter of women’s golf on both the professional and grassroots level, demonstrated through longstanding sponsorships including: Team Canada; CP Women’s Open; RBC PGA Scramble; and RBC Community Junior Golf. RBC is also the official financial services partner of golfers on the LPGA TOUR including world no. 9 Brooke Henderson, Alena Sharp and Morgan Pressel.
What: Women’s Golf Day in partnership with RBC
When: Tuesday, June 7 from 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST
Where: Scarboro Golf and Country Club, Toronto, ON
How: Register for the inaugural Toronto event here. Registration includes complimentary tickets to the RBC Canadian Open, courtesy of RBC and Golf Canada. Spots are limited and registration will close once all spots have been filled.
Women’s Golf Day (WGD) is a global movement that Engages, Empowers, and Supports women and girls through golf and facilitates them learning the skills that last a lifetime. The one-day, four-hour event, has now taken place at more than 1000 locations in nearly 80 countries since its inception in 2016, and has introduced thousands of new golfers to the sport. WGD is the fastest-growing female golf development initiative. Learn more at womensgolfday.com.
Brendan Leonard outlasts Li Sheman in playoff, earns a spot in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open
BRENDAN LEONARD POSES WITH THE RBC CANADIAN OPEN FLAG MOMENTS AFTER WINNING A FOUR-HOLE PLAYOFF AT THE RBC CANADIAN OPEN REGIONAL QUALIFIER AT TPC TORONTO AT OSPREY VALLEY ON MAY 19, 2022.
Golf New Brunswick
CALEDON, Ont. – Before the pandemic started, Brendan Leonard was ready to call it quits on golf. Missed cuts and failed attempts at Q-school and the Mackenzie Tour lead the 30-year-old to lean towards pursuing a career in teaching. Now, some two and a half years later, he finds himself preparing to play in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open.
A two-foot putt for par on the fourth playoff hole booked the Cambridge, Ont. native’s ticket to the RBC Canadian Open at St George’s Golf & Country Club on June 6-12, after a marathon-like battle with David Li Sheman.
Twenty others, excluding Li Sheman, also earned spots at the Final Qualifier on June 6 at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. Among the group are Michael Gonko, who finished at 5 under, and Ben MacLean, Chris Wilson, Phil Arci and Victor Ciesielski, who each carded rounds of 4-under-par 68.
A frost delay pushed back tee times on Wednesday morning and darkness suspended play in the evening, but 25 hours, 1 minute and 24 seconds after the originally planned start time, a champion was crowned at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier (Ontario) at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont.
Leonard and Sheman, both owners of rounds of 6-under-par 66 on Wednesday, teed off on the first playoff hole with little daylight to spare, but neither were willing to give in. A pair of birdies on the first playoff hole, coupled with two pars on the second was all the shine the setting sun had to offer.
A look back into the sunset, a nod and a handshake wrapped up play on Wednesday as the player’s agreed it was too dark to continue.
“It was nerve wracking waiting around, that’s probably the worst part,” said Leonard, whose alarm clock was set for 4 a.m. Thursday morning. “Going into today, I told myself, ‘You’re the best player in the field, let’s just try and get it done.”
Get it done, he did.
On Wednesday morning, the players returned to the tee on No. 18 and went toe-to-toe.
On the first playoff hole of the day – and third of the tournament – Li Sheman’s approach shot found the water, forcing the Aurora, Ont., native to drop. The penalty stroke did not seem to faze him, however, as he was able to regather himself and get up-and-down to save par.
On the ensuing playoff hole, it was Leonard’s composure that sealed the deal for him. A perfectly executed tee shot and layup left him with a short chip and a nervy two-foot putt for par to win, and he made no mistake. At first, a subtle fist pump and a sigh of relief was all the reaction to show for it, but there was no holding back the smile that lit up Leonard’s face moments later.
“I’ve been dreaming of this since I picked up a club at age 14,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play in the [RBC] Canadian Open, so I’m happy to now have the chance to do it.”
Leonard’s patience has been tested, not only on Wednesday and Thursday this week, but everyday since the 30-year-old dedicated his life to golf. Safe to say now, the patience has paid off.
“I was kind of struggling [before the pandemic] but a few people told me to just keep going and I’ve played really well the past two years, so now I’m feeling pretty good about my game,” said Leonard.
“I get up, practice, play and go back and do the same thing seven days a week,” added Leonard, who is a PGA of Canada professional at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ont.
It was all or nothing for the former University of Detroit Mercy Titan coming into Wednesday’s round. Earning a spot in the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifier on June 6 meant little to nothing for Leonard, who will be competing in the U.S. Open Final Qualifier that same day, so he knew he had to win to get in.
Despite making consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11, it wasn’t until a 45-foot putt for birdie on No. 16 that Leonard – who admittedly looked at the leaderboard prior to his round – thought he had a legitimate chance at winning the qualifier.
“I wanted to get to 7 under. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I still got the job done,” he said. “I’ve had a few good years lately, but I think this one takes the cake,” added Leonard, alluding to Thursday’s win being the best moment in his golf career.
Leonard says he’s never played at St George’s Golf and Country Club before but plans on visiting before teeing it up the week of June 6-12. As for his goal for that week, it’s simple:
“Every tournament I play, I try to win, so I am going to take it hole-by-hole and try to birdie as many as I can.”
Leonard says he’s got many phone calls to make, but the first went out to his parents.
“They’re my biggest supporters; they’ve done a lot for me [and] helped me out a lot so they’re going to be pretty happy,” he laughed.
Despite being six days shy of his 31st birthday, Leonard plans on celebrating early.
“We’re going to have fun tonight,” he joked, with a wry smile.
The 18-hole qualifier at TPC Toronto was the third of four regional qualifiers taking place across the country. The fourth, and final, regional qualifier is scheduled for Monday, May 30at Mickelson National Golf Club in Calgary, Alta, rounding up the field for the Final Qualifier.
Barker wins, eight others through at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in B.C.
MEADOW GARDENS GOLF CLUB IN PITT MEADOWS, B.C., ON MAY 17, 2022 FOR THE RBC CANADIAN OPEN REGIONAL QUALIFIER.
Golf New Brunswick
PITT MEADOWS, B.C. – It took six holes for Bryce Barker to get settled in at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, B.C., but once he found his groove, there was no looking back.
After making a bogey on hole 6, the Vernon, B.C. native shifted gears into the fast lane as he recorded three birdies in his final 12 holes to finish at 2-under par on Tuesday at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in British Columbia.
As there were less than 100 competitors at the Regional Qualifier, Barker did not gain a direct exemption into the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, but will be vying for a spot in the tournament at the Final Qualifier.
Joining Barker at Oakdale Golf & Country Club on June 6 are Tanvir Kahlon (Langley, B.C.); Owen Kim (Oakville, Ont.); Sang Lee (Calgary, Alta); Nigel Sinnott (Abbotsford, B.C); Gunner Wiebe (Phoenix, Az); Brendan Dillon (Port Moody, B.C.); Scott Kerr (Vancouver, B.C.); and Tony Gil (Delta, B.C.).
Kahlon and Kim tackled the 7,041-yard layout with a pair of 1-under par rounds of 71, while Lee came in alone in fourth with a respectable round of even par.
Sinnott and Wiebe carded scores of 1-over 71, good enough for a T5 finish; and Dillon, Gil and Kerr – who birdied hole 18 – made it on the number at 2-over par.
The 18-hole qualifier at Meadow Gardens was the second of four regional qualifiers taking place across the country. The next qualifier goes tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18) at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley (North Course) in Caledon, Ont., where one of 144 players will be granted direct entry into the 2022 RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. The final regional qualifier is scheduled for May 30at Mickelson National Golf Club in Calgary, Alta.
Below is a list of how Canadian golfers fared across the major professional tours the week prior.
K.H. Lee eagled the 12th hole to take the lead for good on his way to a final round 63 and a one-shot victory over hometown favorite Jordan Spieth at the Byron Nelson. The 30-year-old South Korean joins Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson as the only repeat winners at the event. Spieth finished a stroke ahead of Hideki Matsuyama and Sebastian Munoz. Xander Schauffele had a career-best 61 and tied for fifth with Ryan Palmer and Justin Thomas. …For just the second time this season Adam Svensson shot the same score in three of the four rounds played
NEXT EVENT: PGA Championship (May 19)
CANADIANS ENTERED: Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes,
Minjee Lee made her only three birdies on the back nine of the final round but it was enough to hold off Lexi Thompson by two strokes in the Cognizant Founders Cup. It was her first victory of the year and seventh career LPGA title. Thompson, looking for her first LPGA Tour win since 2019, rallied from three down to grab a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 10. However, she closed with six straight pars for a final round 69. It was Thompson’s second runner-up finish in six events.
NEXT EVENT: Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play (May 25)
CANADIANS ENTERED: Maude-Aimee Leblanc
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Steve Stricker went wire-to-wire for a six stroke victory at the Regions Tradition, his fourth PGA Tour Champions major title. It was his second Tradition win and came in his third event since returning from a six-month absence due to health reasons. Paidrag Harrington bridied the final two holes to finish in second place. Steven Alker was in a five-way tie for third. He has finished four straight tournaments in the top three, winning twice. …Mike Weir snapped a streak of two straight top 20 finishes. …Stephen Ames posted his lowest result in eight starts this year
NEXT EVENT: KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship (May 26)
CANADIANS ENTERED: TBA
KORN FERRY TOUR
Anders Albertson two-putted for birdie on the final hole for a one-stroke victory over Korn Ferry Tour points leader Carl Yuan in the Visit Knoxville Open. It was his first tour win since 2018. It was the sixth time in the first 12 events this season the margin of victory was one stroke, while another three events were decided in a sudden-death playoff. …After finishing 15 under par in his first event, Albin Choi is a combined 17 under par in his last four weekend starts
NEXT EVENT: AdventHealth Championship (May 19)
CANADIANS ENTERED: Albin Choi, Stuart Macdonald, Ben Silverman
Sam Horsfield carded a final round 68 to win the Soudal Open by two strokes. It was his third European tour title, and first since 2020. Ryan Fox, the overnight leader, needed a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff but made bogey to finish in a tie for second with Yannik Paul. Horsfield is two weeks into his return to the tour following a three-month injury layoff. There were no Canadians entered in the event.
Blair, Goss avoid five-man playoff, advance to U.S. Open Final Qualifier
Golf New Brunswick
CALEDON, Ont. – If you think you’ve heard the name Michael Blair before, it’s because you have. The Ancaster, Ont., native, who competed in the 2019 RBC Canadian Open, is now vying for a spot at this year’s U.S. Open and his odds just got a whole lot better.
The 30-year-old withstood inclement weather conditions in what seemingly was just another day at the office for Blair, who fired a cool 2-under par 69 at The Pulpit Club (Paintbrush course) on Monday to earn medallist honours in the local qualifying round.
Blair wasted no time getting to work on Monday morning as part of the first pairing to tee off in Caledon, Ont., and set the tone early for the remaining 75 players in the starting field.
After an even par showing on the front nine, he knocked down three birdies coming in, to claim the early clubhouse lead – one that was ultimately never surrendered.
Riley Goss of Toronto, Ont. solidified his spot in the Final Qualifier with a 1-under 70, as a result of two birdies on his final five holes of the day. Goss also eagled the par-5 No. 8 earlier in the round.
Then, things got interesting:
Five: the number of players tied at even par
Three: the number of spots remaining for a berth in the Final Qualifier
One: the number of ways to settle the tie.
What does that equal? A playoff.
Jeff Fang, Steve Gonko, Chris Crisologo, David Li Sheman and Branson Ferrier entered the pot in hopes of pencilling their names into the next stage and with the stakes high, it was the latter trio of names who prevailed.
Cosologo, Sheman and Ferrier’s pars on the first playoff hole proved good enough to see them through to the final stage of qualifying for the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Fang and Gonko will serve as alternates in the event that one of the qualifiers opts out of the final stage.
Players will be designated to the course of their choice for the Final Qualifier. To see the list of Final Qualifying sites click here.
Golf Canada introduces new financial benefits at four 2022 National Amateur Championships
SASKATOON, SK - JULY 31: A general view of tee box markers during the final round of the Canadian Women's Amateur Championship at Riverside Country Club on July 31, 2015 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. (Photo by Josh Schaefer/Golf Canada)
Golf New Brunswick
Golf Canada is adding new financial benefits available to competitors at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship, Canadian Junior Boys Championship, Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, and Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, each presented by BDO.
To help defray the cost of participation, a limited number of needs-based financial assistance grants will be available for competitors who must travel to play in the Canadian Junior Girls Championship and Canadian Junior Boys Championship. A total of 26 grants of $500 each will be provided to eligible participants based on family financial need using an application process that is similar to how universities allocate financial aid.
“Golf Canada recognizes the financial demands associated with attending national championships and sees this as a modest way to help junior players and their families,” said Mary Beth McKenna, Director of Amateur Championships and Rules. “We will evaluate the impact of this pilot initiative as we plan for future years.”
In addition, in accordance with the modernized Rules of Amateur Status, players at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship, Canadian Junior Boys Championship, Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, and Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, will now compete for a purse of $8,000 CAD at each event. Amateur golfers may accept prize money up to a maximum of $1,200 CAD, and payouts will be awarded to the top-10 finishers and ties.
McKenna says these new financial initiatives are part of Golf Canada’s commitment to operating globally prominent amateur championships and its increased efforts to grow the number of Canadians competing on the LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR.
Applications for financial assistance grants for the national junior championships will open on May 16, 2022 and may be submitted by any junior golfer who qualifies for the Canadian Junior Girls Championship or Canadian Junior Boys Championship, both presented by BDO. For the financial assistance grant application form click here.
For more details about the financial assistance grants click here. For more information on the purse payout plan click here.
Golf Canada links with PUMA Golf to infuse style and performance into Team Canada program
Golf New Brunswick
Golf Canada and PUMA Golf have announced an expansion of their partnership, naming PUMA as the Official Apparel and Headwear Partner of Golf Canada’s National Team Program.
As part of the three-year agreement, Team Canada players, coaches, and support staff with the National Amateur and Junior Squads will exclusively wear PUMA’s premium golf apparel and headwear when representing Team Canada. In addition, athletes and coaches named to Team Canada for the 2024 Olympic Golf Competition in Paris will also wear PUMA Golf’s apparel and headwear as part of the field-of-play uniform kit.
“PUMA Golf has become an incredibly strong and integrated supporter across a number of Golf Canada programs and properties, and we are extremely proud to extend that partnership across high performance and our National Team Program,” said Golf Canada Chief Commercial Officer John Sibley. “This a very exciting period in Canadian high-performance golf and we are excited to begin outfitting Team Canada athletes, coaches and support staff in PUMA’s extensive collection of advanced performance apparel and headwear.”
That collection includes numerous innovative technologies, including the company’s breakthrough CLOUDSPUN and MATTR material in its apparel. The extension of Puma Canada’s support into Golf Canada’s National Team Program represents a deeper, stronger, and more integrated partnership with the National Sport Federation that dates back many years. In 2014, COBRA PUMA GOLF became the official headwear, apparel, footwear and equipment partner for Golf Canada’s Junior Skills Challenge, an interactive program focused on developing the key golf skills of putting, chipping, and driving among youth.
“We are very excited to support all the talented athletes and staff within the Team Canada High Performance Program and strengthen our partnership with Golf Canada,” said Dwayne Boecker, Head of Golf at COBRA PUMA GOLF – Canada. “This opportunity to connect with the next generation of great players in this country will broaden our brand appeal and presence in golf. The iconic PUMA Cat owns a rich history in international competition, and we look forward to seeing Canada’s best amateur golfers continue that success in our gear.”
Team Canada athletes, coaches and support staff will wear official PUMA Golf apparel and headwear when representing Canada beginning November 1, 2021, through to the end of 2024. The full roster of 2022 Team Canada athletes and coaches named to the National Amateur and Junior Squads will be announced next week.
Golf NB President Judy Astle Appoints new Executive Director
Golf New Brunswick
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Golf NB, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Luke Lacey as Executive Director of Golf NB.
Luke’s experience with Golf NB for the past 3 years and background in sales and marketing makes him a great fit for the future of Golf NB as we work to grow the game and introduce those who are new to the game.
Luke resides in Fredericton, NB, and is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University with a degree in Marketing and a focus in Strategic Management. His previous experience on the frontline with a Golf facility complements our strategic vision of enhancing our relationships with our member clubs.
I look forward to working with Luke and the fellow executive in 2021 and beyond.
Golf NB President
Golf New Brunswick (Golf NB), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1934, is the official governing body for amateur golf in New Brunswick. In January of 2006, the New Brunswick Golf Association (NBGA) officially merged with the New Brunswick Ladies Golf Association (NBLGA), resulting in one united governing body for amateur golf in the province. Programs offered by Golf NB to its 10,000 members include 12 provincial events, rules of golf education, course rating and handicap services, junior golf development programs, and member club marketing initiatives.