THUNDER BAY, ON, JULY 5, 2016 - With less than a week to go before the opening ceremonies and EPIC Monday for the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, Thunder Bay’s Evan Littlefield and Jeff Hunter found out on Monday that they’ll be playing in this year’s Staal Foundation Open along with Australian Jarryd Felton, who will be making his North American debut. The trio were announced as the final three Sponsor’s Exemptions, joining other locals Walter Keating Jr. and Evan DeGrazia who earned their exemptions at the Staal Foundation Open Qualifier and Keg District Open.
Felton is one of the most exciting up-and-comers on the PGA Tour of Australasia, winning his professional debut at the 2015 NSW PGA Championship. At 21, he’s making his first start in North America at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel after taking advice from Adam Scott and Jason Day that he take his game across the ocean.
This will mark Jeff Hunter’s third time playing in the Staal Foundation Open. The 25-year-old was voted an Academic All-American while attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
“Receiving an exemption into this year’s Staal Foundation Open means so much to me. I continually strive to be a strong ambassador for junior golf and development here in Thunder Bay. An event like the Staal Foundation Open is incredibly motivating to myself and all young local golfers;” says Hunter. “I feel so proud to be a part of the event again this year. I have actively participated in different areas of the Staal Foundation Open over the last two years from caddying to attending clinics and last year I qualified to play. I am very thankful for this chance to play once again and will continue to work hard on my game.”
Evan Littlefield is a recent graduate of Niagara College’s Golf Management program, where he recently took home first place in the Ontario College Championships. The 24-year-old is currently an equipment representative for Taylormade and hopes to qualify for other Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada events along with the United States Amateur Championships this year before heading back to school in the fall.
“I am incredibly honoured to receive an exemption into this year’s Staal Foundation Open. This is an amazing opportunity to be able to play with some of the best up and comers from around the world and take my career to the next level;” says Littlefield. “I am excited to represent Thunder Bay and compete at the course I started my amateur career on; Whitewater Golf Club. Golf is my number one passion and my ultimate goal is to play professional golf and play in the 2017 Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada’s Qualifying School. This exemption puts me one step closer to that dream.”
Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel executive director Scott Smith says the golfers will give Thunder Bay more local heroes to cheer for at this year’s tournament and a chance to see one of Australia’s next big names. “We know these are great golfers with something to prove in their own backyard. I look forward to seeing what they can do up against some of the best up-and-coming golfers in the world during the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel. It’s going to be great to watch. To have an exciting prospect like Jarryd Felton make his North American debut here proves what a world class event the Staal Foundation Open is.”
While the tournament begins Thursday, July 14th, an EPIC opening day kicks-off Monday, July 11th starting with the Pandora Intercity Summer Classic, a road hockey game like no other featuring NHLers, Hall-of-Famers and other celebrities. Visit staalopen.ca today for the full schedule.
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