PGA TOUR Americas

Exemption means new swing at life for Thunder Bay golfer

(Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada)

21-year-old Dustin Barr will play in the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel. He is one of the two final exemptions announced today for the fifth Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada event of the season that starts on Thursday at Whitewater Golf Club.

For Barr, the opportunity means a new swing at life and golf after being diagnosed with Sarcoma Cancer in 2013.

“I’ve gone through hell and back to be here. Four surgeries, 15 rounds of chemotherapy. I am still struggling and battling to this day. My dreams of becoming a professional golfer have helped me get through this. When you’re told you have cancer, you really put your life in perspective. You start to embrace the things that are important in your life and golf is one of the most important things in my life,” said Barr.

Swinging a club since he was two years old, Barr attributes much of his success in golf and surviving cancer to his father, Jim Barr, who will be by his side during the tournament as his caddy. “My challenge is keeping my nerves calm. My Dad as my caddy will help me do that. I couldn’t imagine anyone else to walk with me,” continues Barr.

Barr recently completely his first year at Thomas University in Thomasville, Ga., receiving a scholarship as a member of its golf team.

“After my surgery I wasn’t able to play golf for six months, so every surgery really set me back and I had to put my life on hold. I’ve been trying to get my game back. My dreams of becoming a professional golfer are still here and I will get the opportunity to live them this week and it means so much to me. I have worked really hard to get to where I am today and to be here,” said Barr.

Barr anticipates more surgeries within the year but remains positive. Over the years, his battle with cancer has been support by the Northern Cancer Fund and the Staal Family Foundation. He joins Thunder Bay locals, Evan DeGrazia, Chris Gardner, Walter Keating Jr., and Brett Shewchuck in the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.

For more information on the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel click here.