Hughes, Hamilton chase Canada’s amateur golf crown


Top male amateur golfers from Canada, Korea, Australia, Colombia, New Zealand, Peru, Indonesia and the United States will vie for national supremacy at the 108th Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.

The championship will be contested Aug. 7-10 at two Ontario courses: Camelot Golf and Country Club in Cumberland and Club de golf Outaouais in Rockland.

The winner of Canada’s oldest national golf championship earns exemptions into the 2013 RBC Canadian Open at the historic Glen Abbey Golf Club as well as the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. Additionally, the winner is eligible to receive exemptions into the U.S. Amateur Public Links, U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and USGA Senior Amateur Championship, if applicable.

The 240-player field is led by defending champion and Team Canada National Squad member Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas. He posted a four-day tally of 10-under par 274 at Niakwa Country Club and Elmhurst Golf and Country Club in Winnipeg to claim the 2011 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship title.

A recent graduate of Kent State University, Hughes capped his collegiate golf career with the Golden Flashes by helping the squad to a tied-for-fifth finish at this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Men’s Golf Championship. Hughes was also named as one of Kent State’s top male senior student-athletes for 2011-12 after producing five top 10s and three top-5 finishes in 14 events played.

The 21-year-old made his PGA TOUR debut at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, and earned runner-up honors at the 2012 Ontario Men’s Amateur Championship. He is ranked 84th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Also representing Team Canada’s National Squad is 2012 Ontario Men’s Amateur Champion Albin Choi of Toronto, 2012 Canadian University/College Championship titleholder Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., University of Washington standout Charlie Hughes of Maple Ridge, B.C., and two-time Canadian Junior Boys Championship winner Mitch Sutton of London.

Choi, who captured the 2010 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, recently earned low amateur honors at the this year’s Canadian Open. A junior at North Carolina State University, Choi earned his third and fourth career individual collegiate victories this past season, securing a win at the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate and earning medalist honors at an NCAA Regional Championship event. At the 2011 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, Choi placed second, two shots back of Hughes. He is ranked No. 29 in the world amateur ranks, tops amongst Canadians.

Team Canada’s Development Squad will also have a strong presence in the Ottawa Region, including 2012 Canadian Junior Boys champion Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., 2012 B.C. Amateur and 2012 Alberta Amateur champion Riley Fleming of Airdrie, Alta., 2011 Canadian Junior Boys and Canadian Juvenile Boys champion Kevin Kwon of Pitt Meadows, B.C., and Blair Hamilton of Burlington.

Also in the field is three-time Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur champion, Dave Bunker of Woodbridge, Ont., and several former Team Canada members, including Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., Raoul Ménard of Ange-Gardien, Que., Graham Baillargeon of Mississauga, Ont., and Brandon Ng of Toronto.

This year’s championship will also feature over 30 international players vying for the historic Earl Grey Trophy, including James White of Acworth, Ga., who was a co-winner of the 2012 Byron Nelson Award as a top senior player in collegiate golf in the United States. White, a product of Georgia Tech, is currently ranked No. 73 in the WAGR, and competed internationally for the United States in the 2012 Palmer Cup.

The final 16 spots in the field were determined at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Qualifier on Saturday at Camelot Golf and Country Club. Jean-Philip Cornellier of Laval, Que. earned medalist honors after posting a score of 5-under par 67.

Several local players will also compete in the 2012 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, including Alan McGee of Kanata, Ont., Robert Mustard, Russ Passmore and Max Rochette of Ottawa, Dwight Reinhart of Renfrew, Ont., Martin Carré of Gatineau, Que., and Gaston Peyer of Rockland, Ont.

An Inter-Provincial Team Championship for the Willingdon Cup will take place in conjunction with the first two rounds, with three-member teams competing towards an overall team total.

The Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship is open to male amateur golfers who are members of a club belonging to Golf Canada, or clubs in other countries which are in good standing with their respective golf association.

After the first two rounds, the field will be reduced to the low 70 players and ties for the remaining two rounds finishing Friday, August 10 at Camelot Golf and Country Club.