The Great Waterway Classic 2013 – A Primer

The Upper Canada Golf Course plays host to The Great Waterway Classic in 2013 (File Photo: Scott MacLeod)
The Upper Canada Golf Course plays host to The Great Waterway Classic in 2013 (File Photo: Scott MacLeod)
The Upper Canada Golf Course plays host to The Great Waterway Classic in 2013 (File Photo: Scott MacLeod)

The PGA TOUR Canada finds it’s way to Eastern Ontario this week for the playing of The Great Waterway Classic.

It’s been a year since the first The Great Waterway Classic was played at Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course near Gananoque but the divide between last year’s tournament and the one this year spans far more than 365 days.  The Canadian circuit has a whole new look under the ownership of the PGA TOUR.

The Five

The new PGA TOUR division now provides direct access to the Web.com Tour for its leading money winners, based on the final Order of Merit. The top five players will receive playing privileges on the Web.com Tour, while the next five will be exempt into the finals of the Web.com Tour qualifying school.

Through five events on PGA TOUR Canada this year there has been a different winner each time.  With a win each player has earned a valuable spot inside The Five.

The top five money leaders with four events to play:

1. Riley Wheeldon – $39,937.50
2. Wil Collins – $36,493.75
3. Joe Panzeri – $31,155.23
4. Stephen Gangluff – $29,353.81
5. Carlos Sainz, Jr. – $28,845.75
The Test

The Upper Canada Golf Course near Morrisburg, Ontario will be the host layout and local golf fans are eager to see how the pros play a course that has been a favourite in the region for more than 40 years.

While the official yardage of the par 72 course is listed at 6926 yards a few new tees will provide options for course set-up that can take it much closer to 7100 yards.  Two big pieces of that will be two par fives that players must tackle within a span of four holes on the back nine. They include the lengthy but more benign 11th (approx. 600 yards) and the nearly 650 yard beast known as “The Monster”, hole #14.

The fourteenth may prove pivotal in deciding this week’s champion.  Bordered by water all down the left side and trees to the right, this narrow test will serve up it’s share of nightmare numbers and stories all week long.

On-site this week at the Upper Canada Golf Course spectators will notice more professional signage and touches over last year’s tournament.  The “big tour” feel is very apparent, adding to the excitement of a week already enhanced by more higher calibre players, all with the stage of the PGA TOUR in their sights.

Charity  – The Big Winner

The PGA TOUR has raised nearly $2 Billion for charity since 1938 and that streak will carry on at the PGA TOUR Canada’s The Great Waterway Classic.

Earlier this year Canadian Junior Golf Association Chief Operating Officer Brad Parkins (the CJGA is the tournament host) named the Cornwall Hospital Foundation as their Official Charity.  “We’re delighted to be involved with the foundation,” he mentioned in his remarks, adding that funds will be raised throughout the week of The Great Waterway Classic including through a number of initiatives including the pro-am and a portion of the gate proceeds.

Connie Vardy, Executive Director of the Cornwall Hospital Foundation, explained what being paired with the tournament means for them.

“We really feel honuored to have the proceeds from this great community event to come to the hospital foundation.  We have three hospitals in our area that service the local residents at Winchester, Glengarry, and Cornwall to care of everyone’s needs.  We recently finished a MRI campaign where we were able to purchase an MRI so folks in our region didn’t have to Kingston and to Ottawa to get their MRI’s anymore. So when  you give to the Cornwall Hospital Foundation you’re actually helping our whole region and helping health care in general.

People really care about their hospitals.  The second thing the care about is golf.  I can tell you that people here love golf. I moved to the area about eleven years ago and you didn’t get to know anyone if you didn’t play golf so this is a terrific marriage.

To be able to have the amateurs and pros come to our area is just fantastic so we appreciate being chosen; we appreciate the dollars.  We’ll use them wisely to take care of health care in our region and we’ll see you all there.  It’s quite exciting.”

Honourary Chair

One of the benefits of having a PGA TOUR affiliation AND an event located in Eastern Ontario for this year’s The Great Waterway Classic was the addition of a prominent Honourary Chairman.

This role has been filled by PGA TOUR member Brad Fritsch. Fritsch grew up in Manotick, Ontario, about an hour’s drive from the Upper Canada Golf Course.

The 35 year-old was proud to act as a spokesman for the tournament.

“This marks kind of an exciting day for me because it’s been a long time since I have been able to be involved in a professional golf tournament in the Ottawa area,” said Fritsch on the day it was announced.

Fritsch played what was then the Canadian Tour for two long stints, for a total of eight seasons, interrupted by a stay on the Web.com Tour.   The circuit has been his anchor and giving back to it, the community, and pro golf in eastern Ontario made for an attractive package.

Local Content

Golf fans from the region will have more than a few players to cheer for beyond the tour regulars.  Brad Boyle of Kingston will have a strong base of supporters; he is coming off a career best tie for 12th place at the ATB Financial Classic.  Also hailing from Kingston and playing on a sponsor’s exemption this week is Matt McQuillan.  The former PGA TOUR member (2011/2012) and PGA TOUR Canada winner is making a return to competitive golf after a ten month layoff.

Similar to McQuillan, Andrew Jensen is in the field courtesy of an invite.  The Non-Exempt PGA TOUR Canada member from Ottawa is also playing ambassador this week as the host of the PGA TOUR Canada’s television show.  It will air on August 30th on TSN2 and September 1st on Global.

Other players with local ties include Ottawa-born Scott Hawley and Monday Qualifier Carl Desjardins from Chute-a-Blondeau, Ontario, near Hawkesbury.

THE GREAT WATERWAY CLASSIC

2013 Schedule of Events

Monday August 19 (Open to the public)

All Day – Open Qualifying (Cornwall Golf & Country Club)

8:00am – 5:00pm – PGA TOUR Canada Player Registration – Upper Canada Golf Course clubhouse entrance

All Day – Course open for PGA TOUR Canada practice rounds (schedule to change)

2:00pm-4:00pm – Junior Golf Clinic (Summer Heights Golf Course)

6:00pm – 8:00pm – Pairings Party – Upper Canada Golf Club

Tuesday August 20 (Open to the public)

All Day – Official PGA TOUR Canada Pro-Am (1:30pm start) – Course closed for Pro-Am

8:00am – 5:00pm – PGA TOUR Canada Player Registration – Upper Canada Golf Course clubhouse entrance

Evening – Official PGA TOUR Canada Pro-Am dinner

Wednesday August 21 (Open to the public)

All Day – Course open for PGA TOUR Canada practice rounds 

Thursday August 22 (Open to the public)

7:30am-9:30am – First Round of Competition (1st & 10th tee start) – Morning Wave

12:30pm-2:30pm – First Round of Competition (1st & 10th tee start) – Afternoon Wave

Friday August 23 (Open to the public)

7:30am-9:30am – Second Round of Competition (1st & 10th tee start) – Morning Wave

12:30pm-2:30pm – Second Round of Competition (1st & 10th tee start) – Afternoon Wave

Saturday August 24 (Open to public)

8:00am – 1:00pm – Third Round of Competition (1st tee start) (Start times are approximate)

Sunday August 25 (Open to public)

8:00am – 1:00pm – Final Round of Competition (1st tee start) (Start times are approximate)

Awards Ceremony – approx 30 minutes following completion of play (18th green)

The Details

The Great Waterway Classic

August 19-25

Upper Canada Golf Course

Morrisburg, Ontario

2012 Winner: Eugene Wong

Twitter: @GWC2013

Hashtag: #GWC2013

Upper Canada Golf Course

Par 72 – 36/36 – 6,926 yards

Designed: Robbie Robinson (1961)

Course Record: Richard Greer – 68 (2013)

Website: www.uppercanadagolf.com

13745 County Road 2

Morrisburg, ON, K0C 1X0

Monday Qualifiers

This week’s Monday Qualifier took place at Cornwall Golf & Country Club, where 96 players teed it up for 10 spots in the field.

* = PGA TOUR Canada member

Bold denotes Canadian

1. Rafa Campos – 65

2. Jesse Speirs* – 66

T-3. Greg Doherty – 67

T-3. Albin Choi – 67

T-5. Brett Nymeyer* – 68

T-5. Carl Desjardins – 68

T-7. Andrew Ledger – 69

T-7. James Seymour – 69

T-7. Scott Stiles – 69

T-7. Sebastian Szirmak – 69

Field Breakdown

This week’s field includes 61 Canadians, 69 Americans and players from 15 countries including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, South Korea, Australia and South Africa.

Visit www.pgatourcanada.com or www.thegreatwaterwayclassic.ca for more information