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PGA TOUR Canada Returns to Wildfire
Excitement builds for the 2nd Wildfire Invitational being held at Wildfire GC
» By BRENT LONG The Wildfire Invitational Presented by PC Financial is set to put the spotlight on the Peterborough area as the stars of PGA TOUR Canada come to play in the Kawarthas the last week of August. Right across Canada from Victoria, British Columbia to Sydney, Nova Scotia, PGA TOUR Canada has been shining the light on various communities as up and comers of the PGA TOUR fight for their share of the $150,000 purses and a chance to take another step towards the big leagues and million dollar paydays. ?We put the Kawarthas on the map for the inaugural Wildfire Invitational in 2013 with a thrilling championship and I hope golf fans from across the region will come out and support it once again,? says Glenn Stonehouse, an Owen Sound native, who has owned a cottage on Stoney Lake for close to two decades. ?We really want to show the world and the touring professionals the community spirit that makes places like; Peterborough, Lakefield, Norwood and Bridgenorth, such wonderful places to live and play.? ?With local support we can really make this event rock and roll and hopefully it will open doors to other national and international events coming to the area,? says Stonehouse, who is a significant owner and Executive Chairman of Grafton Fraser Inc., which operates men?s stores including; Tip Top Tailors, George Richards, Mr. Big & Tall and Kingsport. As the owner and President of Wildfire Golf Club, Stonehouse has committed $150,000 a year over three years to launch the invitational and bring professional golf to the Kawarthas. ?We have international television coverage on the Golf Channel, the area is featured as part of the PGA TOUR family, we have a terrific local charity in Camp Maple Leaf, there are several pro-am opportunities for area golfers and the local resorts will be full for the week of the championship,? Stonehouse says. ?Hockey fans in the area love the Peterborough Petes and golf fans will really love the action and thrill of being closeup with PGA TOUR Canada at the Wildfire Invitational.? The course routing has been changed to make it easier for the players when it comes to teeing off on No. 1 and No. 10 and that should also improve the fan experience. The routing now features nines that return to the clubhouse rather than an out and back loop for the 18 holes. Stonehouse?s vision for the invitational is to provide the players with the No. 1 golf course and the top-rated tournament on the 12-stop PGA TOUR Canada schedule. Set on Stoney Lake in the beautiful Kawartha?s, the Wildfire Invitational is a one-of-a-kind tournament on the PGA TOUR Canada schedule. Sixty-four lucky amateur players have the opportunity of a lifetime to tee it up in an exclusive, limited field of 128 PGA TOUR Canada players for the first two rounds of the championship on one of Canada`s finest golf courses. ?I had a wonderful time last year walking inside the ropes and playing alongside some awesome young players and I look forward to doing it again,? said Brian Mackenzie, a Peterborough resident and Wildfire » Photo By CLAUS ANDERSEN/PGA member, who won the amateur title in 2013. ?I think it?s going to be an exceptional week of golf with exciting events starting on the Monday and carrying right through until we crown a new champion, maybe a Canadian this time, after Sunday?s final round,? Stonehouse says. ?The players who I talked to during last year?s tournament loved the Tom McBroom designed layout and the overall experience. I know they?re looking forward to coming back for another shot at it.? In 2004, Golf Digest magazine selected Wildfire as the Best New Private Golf Club in Canada. Last month, Wildfire made it on to SCOREGolf magazine?s Top-100 courses in Canada list for 2014. ?I think our members, the volunteers and everyone who attended the inaugural Wildfire Invitational were pleasantly surprised at the skill level of these players. Wildfire made for a wonderful backdrop as they battled it out and the pressure mounted on Sunday,? Stonehouse added. ?Our motto at Wildfire is, ?Worldclass golf in the Kawarthas? and I expect we will build on that once again.?