The great unknowns

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Mike Weir cemented his name in the minds and hearts of Canadians with his 2003 Masters victory, this country's greatest golf achievement.

He needs no introduction as our national open championship begins Thursday at Toronto's St. George's Golf and Country Club.

Nor does Stephen Ames, our adopted son (originally from Trinidad and Tobago), who has played pretty well on the international scene over the past decade himself with four victories on the PGA Tour, including The Players Championship in 2006.

But there are 16 other home-grown hopefuls in the field this week at the Canadian Open. Here's a look at our lesser-known compatriots:

* Graham DeLaet: Outside of Weir and Ames, DeLaet , 28, probably has the best shot of any Canadian this week. The Weyburn, Sask., native tied for third at the Shell Houston Open this season and led briefly in last week's Reno-Tahoe Open before finishing in a tie for 31st after a string of bad holes in his final round.

* Matt Hill: The 2009 NCAA champion turned pro recently and this will be the 21-year-old's fourth PGA event as a pro (on sponsors' exemptions).

* David Hearn: Hearn, 31, currently No. 14 on the Nationwide Tour money list and on track to get his PGA Tour card back, is a native of Brantford, Ont.

* Jim Rutledge: The Victoria, B.C., native, 51, tied for 38th at the Champions Tour Montreal Open this month and earned his way into the Canadian Open (his 19th) with a tie for second at last week's Players Cup in Winnipeg, a Canadian Tour event.

* Jon Mills: The Oshawa, Ont., native sits 26th on the Nationwide Tour money list (top-25 get their PGA Tour card). This will be the 32-year-old's eighth Canadian Open.

* Barrett Jarosch: The Edmonton native, 27, is playing on the Nationwide Tour (98th on the money list) and is competing in his first Canadian Open.

* Adam Hadwin: The Moose Jaw, Sask., native, 22, finished in the top-10 in his first three Canadian Tour events and will be playing his first Canadian Open.

* Ted Brown: Ranked 92nd on the Nationwide Tour money list, the Calgary native, 31, will be playing in his first Canadian Open.

* Cam Burke: From New Hamburg, Ont., the two-time defending Canadian Men's Amateur champ and Team Canada member, 23, will be playing in his second Canadian Open.

* Nick Taylor: With plans on turning pro after the U.S. Amateur later this summer, Taylor, 22, of Abbotsford, B.C., has a bright future. He was low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open, finishing tied for 36th.

* Eugene Wong: The 19-year-old North Vancouver native, a Team Canada member going into his sophomore year at the University of Oregon, won the Jack Nicklaus award as top collegiate player.

* Christopher Ross: The Dundas, Ont., native shot 68 to tie for top spot at the Monday qualifier at The Club at Bond Head in Bond Head, Ont.

* Beon Yeong Lee: The Montreal native tied Ross with 68 to earn his spot in the Canadian Open at the Monday qualifier.

* Jeffrey Puska: The native of Ladysmith, B.C., 30, won a playoff Tuesday at Bond Head for the last qualifier spot.

* Ben Boudreau: The Longueil, Que., native, 51, qualified for his first Canadian Open by winning the Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship.

* Dave Bunker: Last, and hopefully not least, is our own version of Tin Cup. Bunker, a 45-year-old school teacher from Woodbridge, Ont., who re-ignited his love for the game after his children were grown, qualified for his first Canadian Open by winning the Canadian Men's Mid-Amateur Championship (he actually won it in 2008 and 2009, but this is the first year Golf Canada has given the mid-amateur champ a spot in the Open). OK, so he wasn't living in an old Airstream beside the driving range, but could he be our version of Roy McAvoy (a name a lot tougher to remember since the emergence of real golf phenom Rory McIroy).

Get your tickets now

Golf Canada's Terry Lenyk says tickets still are available for all days of the Canadian Open, but Sunday's final round almost is sold out.


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