Canadians enjoy golf’s Pan Am Games debut

Amateur Austin Connelly was Canada’s top finisher in the first ever Pan Am Games golf tournament, placing fifth in the men’s event after a final round 71 left him at eight under par at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham.

Connelly was within striking distance of the podium through all four rounds, posting scores of 70, 69 and 70 in each of the first three rounds. The winner was Colombia’s Marcelo Rozo at -13 while Argentina’s Tommy Cocha and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar were both at -12 to win silver and bronze, respectively.

“I wouldn’t say I had any expectations,” said the 18-year-old Connelly. “I came out here trying to win. Golf is a crazy game. I felt like I gave it my best shot this week. I certainly did not have my best form coming into this week but I was able to grind through it and still post a pretty decent number.”

Canada’s other male representative, NHL referee Garrett Rank, finished 15th at +5 after recording a 70 on Sunday for his best round of the Games.

Lorie Kane hits a tee shot in women's individual golf at the 2015 Pan Am Games

Lorie Kane hits a tee shot in women’s individual golf at the 2015 Pan Am Games

As Canada’s lone competitor in the women’s event, Lorie Kane finished 19th at +23, after posting a final round 74. The trio combined to place Canada eighth in the mixed team event.

“I got better as the tournament went on,” said Kane, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour. “I don’t think I gave what representing your country really means to you when you stand on the first tee at an event such as this. My expectations were quite high for myself because I felt really good about things, unfortunately I didn’t have it the first two days.”

The opportunity to compete at a multi-sport Games is a new one for golfers, something some will get to experience on an even bigger scale next year when the sport makes its return to the Olympic program for the first time since 1904.

“It would be a dream come true,” said Connelly of possibly playing at Rio 2016. “I can’t even imagine, after experiencing this, what an Olympic Games would be like. I’d imagine it would be this on steroids.”

“I can’t say enough about the Pan Am Games and what Toronto has done,” said Kane. “This whole city and the whole organization of it, for golf to be our first time, we had some fun for sure.”

Feature: A Canadian flag is seen on the shoes of Lorie Kane