Hughes joins the hunt for Open title

Dundas native Mackenzie Hughes will be the hometown favourite for this year’s RBC Canadian Open, July 23-29 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster.

Hughes is the reigning Canadian Men’s Amateur Champion and a member of Canada’s National Team.

Other Canadians joining Hughes for the 103rd edition of the national championship include current Tour players Adam Hadwin of Abbottsford, B.C., Matt McQuillan of Kingston, Ont., Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont. and Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont. Hadwin, the third-ranked Canadian on the World Golf Rankings who earned the Rivermead Cup as the Low Canadian at the previous two RBC Canadian Opens, currently sits 50th on the Tour money list while Scott and Fritsch sit 27th and 36th respectively on the Tour money list. McQuillan, who plays on both the and PGA TOUR, is currently the 5th ranked Canadian on the World Golf Ranking.

Andrew Parr of London, Ont. – who has been competing on both the European and South African Tours in 2012 – has also been extended an exemption, as well as former Canadian amateur standout and recently turned professional Eugene Wong of Vancouver. Also set to compete is Team Canada member Albin Choi of Toronto, winner of the 2010 Canadian Men’s Amateur, who is currently the No. 2 ranked Canadian on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. And the 2011 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur champion, Rob Couture of Trenton, Ont.

Also set to compete at Hamilton Golf and Country Club is PGA of Canada professional Brian McCann of Mississauga, who earned his exemption as the top point earner on the PGA of Canada Player Rankings, presented by RBC, as of July 1st.

Greg Doherty of Mississauga won the RBC Canadian Open Ontario Regional Qualifier last week at Kings Forest Golf Course to earn a spot in the field.

The third of three regional Qualifiers (Alberta, Ontario and Quebec) is running today (July 3rd) in Epiphanie, Quebec with the top 12 competitors earning a spot into the Final Monday Qualifier on Monday, July 23rd at Heron Point Golf Links. Four exemptions into the 2012 RBC Canadian Open are available through the Final Monday Qualifier.

“The opportunity to challenge for Canadian National Open Championship is a prestigious honour we are pleased to extend tournament exemptions into the field for the 2012 RBC Canadian Open to each of these deserving competitors,” said Bill Paul, Tournament Director for the RBC Canadian Open. “We are hoping these talented golfers will capitalize on a start in our national championship to build momentum in their professional careers as they strive to become the future stars of Canadian golf.”

Golf Canada and RBC also confirmed that Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa has accepted a tournament exemption to compete in the Open. Currently ranked No. 69 on the World Golf Ranking, the 20-year old has 11 international victories and has competed in the past two President’s Cups (2009 and 2011).

The list of Canadian and international exemption competitors join an RBC Canadian Open field that includes previously announced headliners 2012 PLAYERS champion Matt Kuchar, two-time Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk, 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson, 2-time major winner Retief Goosen, World Golf Hall of Fame member Ernie Els and world No. 10 ranked Hunter Mahan as well as Paul Casey, Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, Kyle Stanley, Justin Leonard, Bo Van Pelt, Jonathan Byrd, Stuart Appleby and defending RBC Canadian Open champion Sean O’Hair.

To date, 15 Canadians are confirmed for the Open with Hadwin, Fritsch, Scott, McQuillan, Parr, Wong, Choi, McCann, Doherty, Hughes and Couture joining previously confirmed Canadians Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., Stephen Ames of Calgary and Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont. Each will be looking to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win Canada’s National Open title.