Canada’s Hearn aims to seize opportunity and build momentum at Barbasol Championship

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A two-event week on the PGA Tour represents a huge opportunity for a golfer like David Hearn.

The 44-year-old from Brantford, Ont., is in the field at the Barbasol Championship, the alternate field tournament for the PGA Tour with the higher ranked players at the Genesis Scottish Open. Hearn, who will be playing in the PGA Tour event of the season, said the Barbasol will give him a chance to play more this year or next.

“That’s what these events are all about, the playing opportunities for the players that aren’t in those premier events,” said Hearn, who joined the PGA Tour in 2005 and currently has a veteran’s card. “The point that I’m at in my career right now, these events are very important to me because these are the events that I get in to.

“I’m looking forward to a good week, see what I can do. A lot of young players are here trying to do the same thing.”

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., is the highest ranked Canadian at the Barbasol, sitting 111th on the FedEx Cup standings. Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., is 209th. Hearn is unranked and Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., is also unranked on the PGA Tour but is 43rd on the European-based DP World Tour where he plays most of the season.

Hearn, who represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has 23 top 10 finishes over his 327 career PGA Tour appearances, said he has seen alternate events like the Barbasol, the Puerto Rico Open and Corales Puntacana Championship launch superstars.

“When I was playing my best golf or the guys that are in the prime of their career at the top, these aren’t events that are on the radar but these events are very important for the PGA Tour,” said Hearn from Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., “I remember Jordan Spieth playing really well in Puerto Rico and Will Zalatoris in Dominican Republic and Tony Finau got his first win in Puerto Rico.

“These opposite field events are very important for players who are trying to break through to get to the next level.”

For Hearn, it’s an opportunity to return to previous heights.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and hopefully getting into a good rhythm and seeing what I can do over the course of four rounds,” said Hearn, who has been the first alternate at several events this season. “Hopefully try to build some momentum to start playing better golf week in and week out.

“This is an opportunity to hopefully break some rust off and find a good rhythm in my game and, and try to get playing better rounds and get into more events on the PGA Tour.”

There are three Canadians in the field at the Scottish Open, which serves as a tune-up event for the British Open, the final major of the men’s golf season.

Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., No. 10 on the FedEx Cup standings, will lead the Canadian contingent at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick. Corey Conners (31st) of Listowel, Ont., and Mackenzie Hughes (42nd) of Dundas, Ont., will also be in the field.

Taylor and Conners will also be in next week’s British Open.

KORN FERRY TOUR – Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., is ranked third in the second-tier tour’s points list heading into The Ascendant Blue. Edmonton’s Wil Bateman (49th), Roger Sloan (100th) of Merritt, B.C., and amateur Brady McKinlay of Lacombe, Alta., will join Silverman in the field at TPC Colorado in Berthoud.

CHAMPIONS TOUR – Calgary’s Stephen Ames is fourth in the Schwab Cup rankings and will tee it up in the Kaulig Companies Championship this week at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. He’ll be joined by Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., who is 33rd in the standings.

PGA TOUR CANADA – Johnny Travale of Stoney Creek, Ont., has officially turned professional, entering the Quebec Open at Golf Chateau-Bromont in Bromont, Que. He was the top-ranked Canadian male in the world amateur golf ranking at No. 146th until this week’s PGA Tour Canada event. Etienne Papineau of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., is still No. 1 on the third-tier tour’s rankings.

LPGA TOUR – World No. 14 Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., tees it up for the Dana Open at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio, on Thursday. Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., ranked No. 73, is also in the field.

EPSON TOUR – Hamilton’s Alena Sharp sits eighth on the Epson Tour’s money list after playing in just five events on the second-tier circuit. She’ll play in the inaugural Hartford HealthCare Women’s Championship that starts Friday. Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., and Quebec City’s Sarah-Eve Rheaume are also entries at Great River Golf Club in Milford, Conn.