THUNDER BAY – It wouldn’t be a Staal Foundation Open without Evan DeGrazia in the field.
The Thunder Bay golfer was a late addition to the tournament, which is set to get under way on Thursday at Whitewater Golf Club, earning a local sponsor's exemption when Canadian Jamie Sadlowski moved up the alternate list and into the event, negating his need for the exemption he'd already been given.
It’s De Grazia’s fifth appearance at the tournament, which began in 2014.
De Grazia, a Newberry College graduate who attempted to make the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada full-time this summer, has yet to make the cut at his hometown event.
In 2015 he shot a one-over 145 and missed the weekend by four strokes. Last year he shot a five-over 149, leaving him six strokes off the cutline.
De Grazia will tee off at 2 p.m. on Thursday on hole No. 1 alongside Canadian Josh Whalen and New Zealand’s Thomas Campbell, who now calls Minneapolis home.
Fellow Thunder Bay golfers Matt Simmons, the club pro at Whitewater, and five-time club champion Barry Caland, will go from No. 10 at 2 p.m.
The city’s other two entrants, Walter Keating Jr. and Jeremy Kirk, will tee off at 9 a.m. on No. 10, playing with Australian Theodore Coroneo.
All told, there are 21 Canadians in the field.
Zach Wright, who leads the Order of Merit with $65,300, begins his opening round on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. on hole No. 1. George Cunningham, one spot behind Wright, is off at 7:10 a.m. on No. 1, while Sam Fidone, third on the Order of Merit, gets an afternoon start on opening day, teeing off at 1:50 p.m. on the 10th hole.
The complete tee times are available here: https://www.pgatour.com/canada/en_us/tournaments/staal-foundation-open/tee-times.html