Reigning Canadian Amateur champion Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas has been selected to represent Team Canada as part of the 2012 National Amateur Golf Team. In announcing the selections, Golf Canada also named Burlington’s Blair Hamilton, 18, to its Under-22 Development Squad.
In all, 11 athletes comprise Team Canada’s National Amateur Squad, including six on the men’s side and five on the women’s squad. The team will feature five returning team members, four players making the jump from the 2011 Development Squad, and two newcomers.
Joining the 20-year-old Hughes are former Canadian Men’s Amateur champion Albin Choi of Toronto and former two-time Canadian Junior Boys champion Mitch Sutton of London who return as members of Team Canada. Eric Banks of Truro, N.S., moves up from the 2011 Development Squad and will join newcomers Charlie Hughes of Maple Ridge, B.C. and Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont. in rounding out the Men’s National Amateur Squad.
Rank, a member of the Waterloo Warriors golf team, becomes the second product of a Canadian post-secondary golf program in as many years (Mitch Evanecz of Red Deer, Alta. in 2011) to earn a spot on Team Canada.
On the women’s side, Christine Wong of Richmond, B.C. is the lone returning member from the 2011 Women’s Amateur squad and will be joined by former Team Canada member Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ont. Kirby, a former Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur and Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls champion returns to Team Canada after a one-year absence. A trio of 2011 Development Squad members – Augusta James of Bath, Ont., Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, B.C., and Brittany Marchand of Orangeville, Ont. – will move up to the National Women’s Amateur Squad in 2012.
“We are very excited about the group of young men and women selected to participate in the National Amateur Team program and represent Team Canada in 2012,” said Jeff Thompson, Golf Canada’s Chief Sport Development Officer. “It is our goal to support these players in helping them achieve their goals for excellence within the sport. Whether competing internationally, nationally, provincially or as members of their respective collegiate teams, each of these athletes has earned the right to represent Canada in 2012.”
The first event for the newly announced Team Canada athletes will be the 2011 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship, November 2-5 at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Texas. Men’s Amateur Squad members Hughes and Rank will comprise the men’s team while Women’s Development Squad members Taylor Kim and Mackenzie Brooke Henderson will challenge for the women’s title.
In all, 80 players from 20 countries will compete in the 72-hole best ball stroke play championship. The biennial event features four-player teams (two male and two female) competing in both a team and individual format. Live scoring from the 2011 Spirit International Golf Championship is available online at www.thespiritgolf.com or at www.golfcanada.ca.
Golf Canada’s Player Development program as well as the player development programs of the provincial golf associations have helped to foster the development of many Canadian players including; Graham DeLaet, Jon Mills, Hamilton’s Alena Sharp, Chris Baryla, David Hearn, Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor, Matt Hill, Richard Scott, Keven Fortin-Simard, Jessica Shepley, Stephanie Sherlock, Sue Kim, Cam Burke and Maude-Aimee LeBlanc among many others.