Cambridge golfer finds Canadian Open ticket in Hidden Lake

Victor Ciesielski, who wasn’t able to defend his Canadian club champion’s title earlier this summer, can forget about that this week. The 21-year-old Cambridge golfer who plays out of the Galt Country Club, will make his first-ever appearance in the Canadian Open this week after winning a qualifying berth on Labour Day.

Ciesielski, who won the national club championship in 2005, blistered Burlington’s Hidden Lake Golf Club with a five-under, bogey-free 66 to grab one of the four remaining spots to complete the 156-player field for this week’s Open.

Also earning spots with rounds of 66 on the par 72, 6,645 yard course were Joshua Habig of San Diego, Calif., and Wil Collins of Rapid City, South Dakota. South African Alan McLean who currently resides in London, Ont., had a 67 but needed an extra playoff hole victory for his ticket to the Open. He was tied with Kent Fukushima of Grande Prairie, Alta. McLean parred the first playoff hole.

Golfers from the Hamilton area who failed to qualify were Ancaster’s James Chan (70), Waterdown’s Jim Kenesky (70), Ancaster’s Tyler McDannold (70), Dundas’s Andrew Ross (72), and Ancaster’s David Miller (72).

Canadian Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C. withdrew from the Open to continue his Nationwide Tour play. Coming off a stellar fourth-place finish last week, Baryla is aiming to earning his card onto the PGA Tour.

With Baryla withdrawing, Calgary amateur James Love received a sponsor’s exemption into the Open field. Love, a member of Canada’s National Amateur Team, will join Andrew Parr of London, and three-time Canadian Amateur Champion Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont. in representing Canada Oct. 26-29 at the World Amateur Team Championship in South Africa. Love’s exemption raises the number of amateurs in the Canadian Open field to four joining Scott, Canadian Amateur runner-up Todd Halpen of Calgary and Ciesielski.

While Open play at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster doesn’t get underway until Thursday’s first round, 21 teams of three amateurs and a professional teed it up in Monday’s Pro-Am to kick off the week. The team of pro Lee Williamson, Doug Swartout, Tom Woods, and Bob Johnson came away with a winning score of 57.