Two days prior to a scheduled media conference for The Great Waterway Classic, it’s been revealed who one of the 2013 Sponsor’s Exemptions will be for the PGA TOUR Canada event.
Thursday will see media gather at the host site, the Upper Canada Golf Course near Morrisburg, to hear the news on who will be granted spots in the tournament courtesy of the tournament organizers, the Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA), but on Tuesday one of the players was revealed via Twitter. An official with PGA TOUR Canada announced that Matt McQuillan, a member of the PGA TOUR in 2011/2012, had been granted one of the places in the field.
McQuillan, 32 and a resident of Kingston (ON), was a winner on the CJGA during his illustrious junior career and also grabbed a PGA TOUR Canada victory in 2005 at the Telus Edmonton Open. He earned PGA TOUR status in the Fall of 2010 by advancing through three stages of Qualifying School. He would go to win nearly $583,000 during the 2011 PGA TOUR season including a tie for 3rd in the John Deere Classic. His 2012 season was not as fruitful as a non-exempt player and he has not played a tournament since the FRYS.COM Open in October of that year.
While he has enjoyed some time away from the game, McQuillan told Flagstick that he is eager to take to the course at Upper Canada.
“I’m not really sure what to expect,” he related by phone. My expectations are not very high, but with being off from competitive golf for so long I’ve got the itch to go out and compete. Hopefully I can put some good rounds together and have a good week.”
It’s been a few years since McQuillan played the Canadian circuit and he says he is excited at the chance to play on the new PGA TOUR Canada, the evolution of the tour where he honed his game for many years. “It means a whole lot to get this opportunity. I think the PGA TOUR has really taken the right steps with taking on this tour. It’s great that the TOUR is offering so much more to players these days. I feel fortunate to get a sponsor’s exemption, especially so close to home.”
Located less than two hours from where he grew up, McQuillan says playing Upper Canada for The Great Waterway Classic does add a little extra nuance to his return. “I am thrilled to have an event so close to Kingston, hopefully I can get the word out and get more fans to the tournament. I know I’ll feel a little more pressure to play well.”
Posed with the question of whether this will be a one-off experience or the rebirth of his career, the former collegiate teammate of Hunter Mahan says he has not given it much consideration. “I haven’t really thought too much about what happens after the tournament. I might have to re-evaluate if I do play well.”
McQuillan got a look at the recently upgraded Upper Canada Golf Course on Canada Day during a round with his father. He says he’ll try and get a few more games in prior to tournament week, August 19-25. In the meantime his attention will turn to sharpening his game to be tournament ready.