They cover the sport of golf, bringing it to life for their readers, viewers, and listeners, but the members of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada also give back to the game. They support it through various initiatives, including their annual Player Bursaries, awarded in concert with sponsors Golf Town and Mackenzie Investments.
The membership of the association votes for a slate of nominees each year and for 2020 the winners selected as British Columbia’s Riley Wheeldon and Ontario’s Selena Costabile.
Each player is given a $3,000 bursary to help support their development as professional golfers. The male award is sponsored by Golf Town while the women’s bursary is sponsored by Mackenzie Investments.
“I’m extremely humbled and honoured to be recognized in this regard by GJAC, a group that I know understands and follows Canadian golf as closely as anyone,” said Wheeldon, 29, who led the 2019-20 Outlaw Tour money list thanks to a win and three runner-up finishes. “Support like this is beyond appreciated as I pursue my ultimate goal of the PGA TOUR.”
“I am so honoured to have been nominated by some of the most respected individuals in the industry, and to be the recipient of the 2020 GJAC bursary,” said Costabile, 22, who has status on the Symetra Tour but opted to play on the Toronto’s Player Tour this past summer.
“This bursary will significantly help the financial stress of playing full time on the Symetra Tour. I am so grateful to everyone involved in the voting process, and to Mackenzie Investments for sponsoring the award.”
Wheeldon, a native of Comox, B.C., was nearly unstoppable on the Outlaw Tour in Arizona, collecting two wins and three runner-up finishes en route to the 2020 Money List title. Wheeldon also holds status on the Mackenzie Tour after a 40th place finish on the money list in 2019, a Tour he has found success on in the past, winning the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON in 2013.
“Congratulations to Selena Costabile on being named the 2020 GJAC Player Bursary recipient,” said Court Elliott, VP Corporate & Community Engagement, Mackenzie Investments. “In a year that has been so challenging for so many, it’s nice to partner with the Golf Journalists Association of Canada and recognize this exceptional athlete and pay tribute to her hard work and dedication.”
“This year has been a very difficult one for many Canadians and athletes. During the pandemic, the golf industry rallied together and drove unprecedented growth for the game,” said Chad McKinnon, President of Golf Town. “We’re proud to support Riley as the recipient of the 2020 GJAC Male Bursary, and look forward to watching his continued success in his journey and chasing his dreams. Golf’s future in Canada is bright, and we all look forward to the upcoming season.”
Costabile, a Thornhill, Ont. native, elected to stay close to home this summer and compete on the Toronto Players Tour, collecting a victory on July 28 with a 9-under 63, to win by four strokes against a nearly-all male field. After amassing a stacked amateur resume, winning the 2013 CJGA National Junior Golf Championship and qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Costabile turned professional in 2018 and claimed a victory that year in a National Women’s Golf Association event held at Dubsdread Golf Course.