Super Sunday? Canadian Updates

If you’re a Canadian golf fan, this has the making of an exciting Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know as you enjoy your Sunday-morning coffee.

Brooke’s Big Day

Despite stumbling in with back-to-back bogeys, Smiths Falls, Ont.’s Brooke Henderson is in a position that not many 17-year-olds have ever been in. She has a one-shot lead at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, and will go in the final group with childhood idol Morgan Pressel and South Korea’s Min Seo Kwak.

After a tournament-record 7-under-par 65 Friday, Henderson shot even par Saturday, while Pressel shot the round of the day, a 5-under-par 67. When asked about Pressel’s influence, Henderson said she met Pressel when she was just 8 years old at an event in Ottawa.

“Ever since then (the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014) she’s been very kind to me. I’ve still always been a little nervous around her because I’ve looked up to her my whole life, but I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Henderson, Pressel and Min Seo Kwak tee off at 4:05 p.m. EST.

Note: The last time a Canadian won on the LPGA Tour was 2001. Henderson was three. 

David Hearn just one shot back

At the rain-soaked Zurich Classic of New Orleans, David Hearn sits at -12, just one back of American Erik Compton and Australian Jason Day.

Torrential rain washed out most of round three, and now golfers will have to be back in position early Sunday to complete Moving Day, along with all of their final rounds.

Hearn lost to Jordan Spieth in a playoff at the John Deere Classic in 2013 and is still looking for his maiden PGA Tour victory. Through seven holes of his third round, Hearn is 3-under-par.

Play resumes again at 8:30 a.m. EST.

Svensson wins… again

Adam Svensson just turned professional a few weeks ago, but he’s already notched two victories and $40,000 (USD).

Not a bad way to start your first job.

Svensson, 21, captured the most-recent SwingThought.com Tour event Saturday, thanks to the round of the day, a 65. Coming from a number of shots back, Svensson leap-frogged eight golfers – including fellow Golf Canada Young Pro Mackenzie Hughes – for the win.

This marks Svensson’s second victory in just three professional starts. Perhaps even more exciting in his eyes, this victory guarantees him into the Knoxville News Sentinel Open on the Web.com Tour later this summer.

It’s likely Svensson will get another Web.com Tour exemption – into the Nova Scotia Open – in July. Otherwise, he’ll be most active on PGA Tour Canada.

Other notes

Taylor Pendrith and Sonny Michaud were the lone Canadians to earn status for PGA Tour Canada’s 2015 season at the California Q-school, which concluded Friday. Pendrith is exempt through the first six events of the year and will join five other Golf Canada team members with status on that tour this year… Eight Canadian girls made the cut on the Symetra Tour this week, led by Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, who’s T3… Cam Burke finished second on the eGolf Gateway Tour Saturday…

See Thee Rise: Canadian Golf Inspiration

Despite a final-round stumble, Ottawa-native Brad Fritsch earned himself an exemption into this week’s PGA Tour event in Phoenix, and perhaps, earned a place at the top of many Canadian’s minds as an athlete to watch for 2013.

Fritsch at Torrey Pines (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Fritsch at Torrey Pines (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

But, most likely, if you’re a young Canadian and into sports, playing professional golf is not one of your main goals.

This could be true for multiple reasons. The season in Canada is short; ten months maybe on the West Coast, realistically only six months anywhere else.

The game is expensive, and it’s singular. There’s no denying this. There are also no true public places to practice or play, unlike the frozen ponds or open fields that scatter both rural and urban Canadian landscapes.

Golf Canada, as the governing body for the game in this country, is putting programs in place to try to help to increase the engagement of young people with the game, programs like Golf in Schools, and CN Future Links.

These are the kinds of things that can help to encourage young Canadians to take up golf, yes, but now more than ever, kids need to be inspired.

Whether you’re a young boy or girl, there needs to be idols that you can look up to, try to emulate, and recognize as someone who has done what you want to do.

For Canadians, there will always be the never-ending list of Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Haley Wickenheiser, or Christine Sinclair wannabes – men and women who have made it to the top of their respective sports, inspiring a nation of young boys and girls to do the same.

Mike Weir should be included on that list, too. A major champion, someone who once said that if “I can raise more money for charities, or get more Canadian kids to play golf, the green jacket will mean even more.”

Weir has not been as inspirational in recent years – inspiring questions more than anything about his game, and his own future.

But now there is a new crop of Canadians in golf – a first, in this new era of the game – that can, and should, take golf onto their respective backs and show kids that just because the average temperature for a quarter of a Canadian year matches Tiger Woods’ winning score from this past week’s Farmers Insurance Open, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a desire to be a professional golfer.

Take Fritsch, for example. The aforementioned Ottawa-native is a rookie this year on the PGA Tour, at the age of 35. He’s been through the grind of mini-tours, and so far has made the cut in all three of the events he has played. His tie for ninth yesterday earned him a place into the next tournament, where he is looking to build off of his early-season successes.

One of his main sponsors is his hometown NHL team, the Ottawa Senators. What could be more Canadian than that?

Take Brooke Henderson, another example. The native of Smiths Falls was victorious at the South American amateur women’s championship in Colombia last weekend, and earlier this month, she helped Team Canada win the Copa de las Americas team competition in Miami.

Henderson qualified for the 2012 CN Women’s Open championship as well, and was the youngest person ever to compete in the event. She has her eyes set on another appearance in that tournament later this summer. Did I mention that she is all of fifteen years old, and barely through high school?

One also can’t forget about Vancouver-native Adam Hadwin, who is grinding away on the Web.Com Tour – and making waves early on the PGA Tour season as well. There’s also LPGA Q-School medalist Rebecca LeeBentham, who is set to make her debut on that tour this year.

Or how about returning PGA Stars David Hearn, and Graham DeLaet? DeLaet, who tied with Fritsch for ninth this past week, has a good chance to represent Canada at this year’s Presidents Cup.

A Fritsch top-10 finish could just be the beginning of a successful 2013 for Canadian golfers. It may be cold right now across the country, but golf leaderboards are warming up with Canadian flags.

Inspiration is abound for young athletes, why not look at golf? Now is as good a time as any for that inspiration to be capitalized on. 

Game On – Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 Hits Shelves

Originally Posted – March 28th/2011 – http://www.flagstick.com/teeshots/?p=3152

************************************************************

The state of video games these days can be summed up by the incomparable country twang of Brad Paisley, in his song Welcome to the Future.

A line from the song says – “I’d have given anything/to have my own Pac-Man game at home/I used to have to get a ride down to the arcade/now I’ve got in on my phone.”

I managed to skip the video arcade generation, but one of the first memories I have of playing a video game was on my parent’s old Windows 95-run computer in our basement.

Links LS 98 featuring Arnold Palmer kept me entertained for many an hour taking me away to the famous golf links of Kapalua and Latrobe, long before Tiger Woods paired up with EA Sports.

IGN GameSpy called Links LS 1998 “the sequel to one of the greatest golf titles of 1997 […] Even though the courses are the same, the enhancements make the playing experience new once more. New to Links LS 1998 is what Access calls ‘look ahead rendering,’ which calculates your ball’s final resting position and begins to load the correct scenery into memory as the ball is in flight.”

Ah yes. To borrow another classic music quote, the times they are a-changing.

On March 29, EA Sports will release another version of their wildly successful golf video game franchise: Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12The Masters and this time the game will include a feature that no one thought would ever occur.

Players will be able to tee it up on the famous and exclusive links of Augusta National Golf Club, virtually strolling the hallowed grounds down Magnolia Lane, serenaded by the soothing baritone of Jim Nantz.

The game has featured many of the world’s most famous courses before, including St. Andrews, TPC Sawgrass, Pebble Beach, and Bethpage Black, just to name a few.

Other games have tried to top the success of EA Sports but the TW franchise continues to have a stranglehold on the market, even without having Augusta on its famed list of places-to-play.

No longer.

In an announcement made in early January, Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne said that as a result from the partnership with EA Sports, 100 per cent of Augusta National’s proceeds will be contributed to the newly created Masters Tournament Foundation, which is designed to annually invest in development programs for the game of golf worldwide.

It was an attempt to foster an appreciation in the history and traditions of The Masters which led to Augusta’s partnership with EA Sports three years ago. Just as EA approached Tiger to be the face of their franchise beginning in 1999, Augusta has done the same here, in order to capitalize on “one of the popular entertainment choices of kids today.”

With all due respect to Mr. Payne, the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 will not only keep the younger generation entertained, but people of all ages who are finally able to get as close to Augusta National as most ever will in their entire life.

Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, said in a statement that “for more than a decade, the Masters tournament has been the most requested and coveted feature for (the franchise) among our fans.”

Not only do players get the hallmark gameplay of the Tiger Woods franchise, this year’s edition features a collection of Masters-specific challenges including ‘Masters Moments’ (playing through historic moments as players measure up against some of golf’s legends) or ‘Tiger at the Masters’ (reliving each of Tiger’s four wins at the Masters by attempting to equal or beat his scores in each round of the tournament).

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 retails for $59.99 and is available at video game retailers everywhere for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii beginning March 29.