Kiwi enjoys fruits of his labour

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Brenden Stuart is now an honorary Canadian.

Stuart's birth certificate says New Zealand but the 21-year-old Kiwi has become like any other Canuck.

"I played street hockey the other day," he said before a practice round leading up to the Pengrowth Glencoe Invitational June 22-24. "I love Canada. It's like a second home to me."

It's certainly been the locale of one of his greatest golfing moments.

In 2004, Stuart beat fellow New Zealander Brad Iles in the first hole of a playoff to take the tournament that pits top amateur players from across the world against each other.

"It was a dream to see the final putt go in and look at a Kiwi teammate," Stuart recalled. "It was great."

Last year's defence didn't go as well.

Played on the Glencoe's Meadows track because the June storms damaged the Forest course, Stuart shot an opening round 79 to fall out of contention early.

Maybe reverting the tournament back to the tight, tree-lined course will be good news.

"I'm one for one on the Forest winning, so we'll try to be two for two," he quipped.

Certainly the 69-player field will have something to say about that. With veterans like David Schultz, youngsters such as Kris Wasylowich, the 2005 Alberta Open Champion who tied for second at this year's tournament, and internationals Diego Munoz De Cote of Mexico and Kiwi Josh Geary among the mix, Stuart knows he'll be hard-pressed to card another victory.

However, the tournament is also part of a plan to remain in Calgary for the summer -- he'll play at the Canadian Amateur in mid-August -- to hone his skills and, hopefully, take his game to the next level.

"At home at that time, there's no golf," he explained. "There's only a couple of events throughout the winter and for me to get the chance to play and practise on all the great facilities here does my golf a lot of good."


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