OAKVILLE, Ont. (Golf Canada) – Golf Canada has announced the athletes who have been selected to represent Team Canada as part of the 2016 National Amateur Squad and Development Squad. In total, five Ontario golfers will be part of the program. Burlington’s Blair Hamilton returns to the Men’s Amateur Squad, Vaughn’s Tony Gil and Aurora’s Jack Simpson will be on the Men’s Development Squad, and Ottawa’s Grace St-Germain and Mississauga’s Chloe Currie, a 2015 member of Team Ontario, are part of the Women’s Development Squad.
In all, ten athletes comprise Team Canada’s National Amateur Squad including five players on the men’s team and five on the women’s. The National Development Squad, primarily a U19 program, will also feature 10 players (five men and five women).
Returning to the men’s Amateur Squad is 2015 Gary Cowan Award (low amateur at the RBC Canadian Open) winner Blair Hamilton, 22, of Burlington, Ont. Hamilton enters his senior year at the University of Houston on the heels of a strong junior year that included two collegiate victories and six other top-20 finishes. He finished T17 at the 2015 Canadian Men’s Amateur and currently boasts Canada’s top-amateur ranking at No. 104 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). This will be his second year on the Amateur Squad and his third in total with Team Canada (Development Squad in 2012).
Joining the team for his first official season is reining B.C. Amateur champion Jared du Toit of Kimberley, B.C. The 20-year-old currently sits as the team’s second-ranked amateur at No. 122 in the WAGR. He played his first two seasons at the University of Idaho before transferring to Arizona State this year for his junior season. During his time at Idaho, du Toit recorded eight top-10 finishes including a win at the Wyoming University Southern to go along with winning Freshman of the Year honours for the Western Athletic Conference.
After a two-year hiatus, Eric Banks of Truro, N.S., makes his return to Team Canada following a summer that featured top-25 finishes at the Northeast Amateur, Canadian Amateur and Monroe Invitational. Banks is also a former Nova Scotia Men’s Amateur champion (2011) and two-time Nova Scotia Junior Boys champion. He enters his fourth year with Team Canada after graduating from the University of Florida where he won the David Toms award—given to the collegiate golfer who most overcomes adversity. Banks, 22, recovered from successful open-heart surgery in June of 2012 that repaired a hole in his heart.
Also returning to Team Canada after a hiatus is Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., native Hugo Bernard. The 20-year-old was runner-up at the 2015 Canadian Amateur and also earned top-five finishes provincially at the Alexander of Tunis, Duke of Kent and the Quebec Men’s Amateur. He captured the Quebec Men’s Amateur title in 2013 as well as the 2012 Quebec Junior Boys championship.
Rounding out the men’s team is Purdue University senior and Vancouver native Stuart Macdonald. The 20-year-old finished runner-up at the 2015 B.C. Amateur, tallied two top-10 finishes in his junior season and finished tied for 13th at the 2015 Canadian Amateur.
On the women’s side, the Amateur Squad is headlined by returning member and dual-citizen Maddie Szeryk who’s 2015 season includes a victory at the Ontario Women’s Amateur and T6 finish at the Canadian Women’s Amateur. In her freshman season at Texas A&M, Szeryk was named to the All-South Eastern Conference team in addition to winning Freshman of the Year honours for the conference thanks to nine top-10 finishes in 12 tournaments played. The 19-year old currently sits as Canada’s top-ranked female on the WAGR at No. 38.
Joining Team Canada is rookie Josée Doyon of St-Georges-de-Beauce, Que. Doyon is coming off a remarkable season that featured a win at the Quebec Women’s Amateur in addition to three collegiate victories for the Kent State Golden Flashes. The 22-year-old’s junior season earned her Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year honours. Now in her senior year, Doyon currently sits at No. 61 on the WAGR.
Rounding out the women’s team are a trio of graduates from last season’s Development Squad including 18-year-old Naomi Ko of Victoria, B.C., who enters her fourth year with Team Canada and first as a member of the N.C. State Wolfpack. In 2015 she finished fifth at the B.C. Women’s Amateur, tied for second at the Ontario Women’s Amateur, third at the Canadian Junior Girls and tied for 24th at the Canadian Women’s Amateur.
Calgary’s Jaclyn Lee, 18, heads into her third year with Team Canada and her freshman season at Ohio State. The 18-year old finished tied for seventh at the B.C. Women’s Amateur, third at the Alberta Ladies Amateur and 16th at the Canadian Women’s Amateur. In 2014, Lee captured both the Alberta Ladies Amateur and Junior Girls titles.
Michelle Kim, an 18-year-old Surrey, B.C., native, moves up to the Amateur Squad after one season the Development Squad. Currently in her freshman year with University of Idaho, Kim won both the 2015 B.C. Women’s Amateur and Junior Girls, while adding a victory at the Canadian Junior Girls and a tie for 38th at the Canadian Women’s Amateur.
“This is always an exciting time of year as we welcome the next group of young men and women selected as members of Team Canada,” said Jeff Thompson, Golf Canada’s Chief Sport Officer. “Supporting, developing and nurturing Canada’s future stars remains to be at the core of our primary objectives. We are committed to investing in high performance talent through elite coaching, training, sport science and preparation.”
The following athletes have been selected to Team Canada’s 2016 Amateur Squad:
WOMEN’S NATIONAL AMATEUR SQUAD
Maddie Szeryk, Allen, Tex. (19)
Josée Doyon, St-Georges-de-Beauce, Que. (22)
Michelle Kim, Surrey, B.C. (18)
Naomi Ko, Victoria, B.C. (18)
Jaclyn Lee, Calgary, Alta. (18)
MEN’S NATIONAL AMATEUR SQUAD
Blair Hamilton, Burlington, Ont. (22)
Jared du Toit, Kimberley, B.C. (20)
Eric Banks, Truro, N.S. (22)
Stuart Macdonald, Vancouver, B.C. (20)
Hugo Bernard, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que. (20)
Complete National Amateur Squad bios can be found here.
As part of the National Amateur Team Program, Golf Canada also named the 19-and-under Development Squad that includes five female and five male athletes. The Development Squad is designed to help facilitate the continued development of Canada’s top young talents.
The following athletes have been selected to Team Canada’s 2016 Development Squad:
WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT SQUAD
Grace St-Germain, Ottawa, Ont. (17)
Hannah Lee, Surrey, B.C. (15)
Tiffany Kong, Vancouver, B.C. (14)
Kathrine Chan, Richmond, B.C. (15)
Chloë Currie, Mississauga, Ont. (15)
MEN’S DEVELOPMENT SQUAD
Tony Gil, Vaughan, Ont. (17)
A.J. Ewart, Coquitlam, B.C. (16)
Thomas ‘Jack’ Simpson, Aurora, Ont. (17)
Alexander Smith, Calgary, Alta. (17)
Charles-Éric Bélanger, Québec, Que. (16)
Complete Development Squad player bios can be found here.
Golf Canada also announced the 2016 Team Canada coaching staff with Derek Ingram returning as Men’s Squad Head Coach, supported by Robert Ratcliffe who will also head up the Development Squad. On the women’s side, Tristan Mullally returns as Women’s Squad Head Coach and will receive support from Ann Carroll, who will oversee the Women’s Development Squad specifically. All coaches are all class “A” professionals with the PGA of Canada.
The athletes named to the 2016 National Amateur and Development Squads are a product of a circle of support that includes personal coaches, parents and high performance activities conducted by the respective provincial golf associations.