It’s taken a few years but when golfers and sports fans in Eastern Ontario hear the words “The Great Waterway Classic” it is no longer foreign to them. They immediately recognize it as a Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada event that is played in their own backyard. That’s the payoff from a big effort by the TOUR and tournament presenter, the Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) who have worked tirelessly to establish the tournament.
“We’re definitely excited to be coming back to the region for a fourth year in a row which is a great accomplishment for the TOUR and The Great Waterway,” says PGA TOUR Director of Tournament Business Affairs, Scott Pritchard.
The slogan “The Roar Starts Here” is an apt one as the best players of tomorrow begin their journey here on Canadian soil, as you will see this week watching the talented 156 player field at The Great Waterway Classic.
The Mackenzie Tour provides direct access to the Web.com Tour for its leading money winners, based on the final Order of Merit. The top five players 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.
It’s more than possible that this week’s winner at Loyalist Country Club will be playing on the Web.com Tour in 2016, just a step away from the ultimate goal, the PGA TOUR.
In 2013 British Columbia’s Nick Taylor played in The Great Waterway Classic at Upper Canada Golf Course in Morrisburg. He earned his way to the Web.com Tour, then the PGA TOUR where he won in just his 4th start.
“It’s a testament to the quality of play on our TOUR,” says Pritchard in reference to Taylor’s quick rise from his homeland tour.
Although you may not know their names, yet, the Mackenzie Tour is deep in talent. That was on display in 2014 at The Great Waterway Classic as winner David Bradshaw posted an incredible score of -21 for the four rounds of play. Adam Long and Tommy Cocha were hot on his heels at -20. In a single round Micah Burke also torched the layout for an outstanding score of 62.
Not big names, sure, but big talent indeed and spectators will get a full taste of what the Mackenzie Tour has to offer as the players chase a first place prize of (CDN) $31,500 and a stepping stone to their PGA TOUR dreams.
Charity The Big Winner
The PGA TOUR has raised over $2.2 Billion for charity since 1938 and that streak will carry on at the Mackenzie Tour’s The Great Waterway Classic.
Again this year the charitable partner for The Great Waterway Classic will be the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Foundation. “The Great Waterway Classic is delighted to have the chance to work with such a community-minded charitable organization like the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Foundation,” said Tournament Director Brad Parkins. “Funds raised will help the Foundation provide key equipment so doctors and nurses can deliver the best patient care possible to those in need in the community they serve.”
Funds will be raised in different ways during the week of The Great Waterway Classic including supplementary activities during the Pro-Am, silent auction as well as a portion of the gate proceeds.
“Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Foundation is very grateful for this partnership opportunity,” said Robert Paul, Chairman of the Foundation Board of Directors. “Our community hospital will benefit through added support and many thanks to event organizers of The Great Waterway Classic. We look forward to collaborating our efforts and making this golfing event at Loyalist Golf & Country Club highly successful.”
In 2014 the Mackenzie Tour raised some $350,000 for charity and is a on a record pace to surpass that in 2015. Through the first six events of the season $336,000 had been generated for local groups. “It really speaks to our tournaments and what they are doing for the communities that we play in,” says Scott Pritchard.
“The relationship with the foundation here has been tremendous and we’re excited to see what we can do here. We hope we can raise even more money than we did last year,” he added, noting that through the TOUR’s title sponsor, Mackenzie Investments, $12,500 is already earmarked for The Great Waterway Classic to top up the finds raised for the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Foundation.
The Great Waterway
The Great Waterway, a tourism region that stretches from the Quinte Region to the Quebec Border is the title sponsor for the Mackenzie Tour event and it has helped them showcase their many assets.
“The Great Waterway is very excited that we’re in our fourth year and here at the Loyalist Golf and Country Club,” says Krista Doyle, Marketing and Communications Manager for the organization.” It’s with great pleasure again to work with the Lennox and Addington General Hospital Foundation, (Mackenzie Tour) – PGA TOUR Canada, CJGA, and Loyalist Country Club. One of the great thing about aligning with a great brand like PGA TOUR/Mackenzie Tour is the commitment to charity and the community and The Great Waterway is excited to be involved with an event that brings people together to give back to the community. Loyalist Golf and Country Club is one of the many great courses in the region and we’re excited to be involved with an event where the next generation of PGA TOUR stars are playing now.”
2015 The Great Waterway Classic
Dates: August 24-30
Course: Loyalist Golf and Country Club (Bath, Ont.)
Par/Yards: 35-37—72/6,800 yards
2014 champion: David Bradshaw
Purse: $175,000/$31,500 (winner)
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Twitter: @GWC_2015 / #GWC2015
The Great Waterway Classic is the ninth of 12 events on the 2015 schedule, with five events over the last five weeks to close out the race to finish in The Five and earn status on the Web.com Tour for 2015. Below are the top five on the Order of Merit through the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops (bold denotes Canadian):
- J.J. Spaun – $76,409
- Sam Ryder – $55,173
- Drew Weaver – $44,988
- Kevin Spooner – $40,639
- Albin Choi – $40,079