Ontario PGA Member Gar Hamilton Qualifies for U.S. Senior Open

7/8/2009

(Pickering, Ont., July 8, 2009) – Gar Hamilton 59, of Mississaugua Golf & Country Club has qualified to compete in this year’s U.S. Senior Open at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana. For Hamilton, who shot even par at his qualifying site in Buffalo, this will be a sort of home coming for the IndianaUniversity graduate.

“I played pretty efficiently,” said Hamilton when referring to his qualifying round at LockportTown and Country Club just outside of Buffalo. “The greens were running about 13 and the pins were located on knobs so it made it really tough.”

What made it even more difficult for Hamilton who was playing in the final group was that a weather system swept in and delayed play while he was standing on the 18th hole.

“I knew that even par or one under would be good,” said Hamilton who was sitting at even par on the 18th tee. “When I saw that I only needed to make par on the 18th hole which was a par three I tensed up a bit,” added Hamilton who hit his utility club to 15 feet and 2 putted for par to get into his first Major Championship.

What makes this story more interesting is the fact that the U.S. Senior Open will be played on a course that Hamilton used to call home. The former IU golf captain will be playing a course that he has played too many times to count.

“I’m thrilled to be playing at Crooked Stick,” said an elated Hamilton. “I used to actually play out of there when I was playing the PGA Tour and lived close to the course back in the 70’s and I have a number of friends who still live there.”

Hamilton played the PGA Tour in the late 70’s and early 80’s with limited success but has since become one of the most decorated club professionals in Canada. Having won the Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship four times and the Canadian PGA Senior Championship once, Hamilton has no shortage of experience when it comes to competition. More recently Hamilton finished tied for 6th place at the Canadian Senior Open (Champions Tour) in 2002 at Essex Golf and Country Club. All of this while tending the duties of Head Professional at one of the busiest private facilities in Canada.

“My members have always been supportive of my playing and they are all pulling for me,” said Hamilton who began his preparation for Crooked Stick this morning. “I hit some balls on the range at 7am this morning and will keep practicing as much as I can before we head down on the Sunday before.” Hamilton will be joined by his wife Nancy on the trip who is an Indianapolis native.

Hamilton will be in familiar surroundings in Indianapolis as he plans to stay with his former IU teammate and co-captain who lives but five minutes from the first tee. His teammate is also a former Crooked Stick president and has played a number of rounds with Gar at the Pete Dye design.

“I know the course well, I have played in an event there for a number of years called the Pete Dye Cup,” added Hamilton, whose best finish in that event was runner up. “It’s going to be a fun week and more importantly I am going to prepare myself well.”

Over the years Gar has maintained strong connections with many of the Champions’ tour members and plans to play a practice round with Nick Price and recent Champions Tour winner Lonnie Neilson.  The Ontario PGA will be tracking Hamilton’s progress leading up to the Open so keep your eye tuned to www.ontariopga.com.
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