Con­nelly keeps his fo­cus on Euro­pean Tour

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ADAM STAN­LEY

Austin Con­nelly, 20, had a chance to re­turn to Canada as some­what of a folk hero af­ter his tie for 14th at last week’s Bri­tish Open, but for now his pri­or­i­ties re­main across the At­lantic.

Con­nelly, who is from Texas, but has dual cit­i­zen­ship be­cause his fa­ther is Canadian, is try­ing lock up sta­tus on the Euro­pean Tour for next year. He de­cided to de­cline an in­vi­ta­tion from Golf Canada to be part of the Canadian Open field this week.

In­stead of head­ing to Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Con­nelly will be in the field at the Porsche Euro­pean Open in Ham­burg, Ger­many, as he tries to lock up a place to play for 2018.

The Canadian Open would be noth­ing more than a one-off PGA Tour start for Con­nelly, though he said it was a tough choice.

“If I had fin­ished tied for sixth (or bet­ter) I would have been on that char­ter, be­cause I re­ally would have loved to be there,” Con­nelly said.

Con­nelly was born and raised in Irv­ing, Texas, but started play­ing golf at the Clare Golf and Coun­try Club in Comeauville, N.S., when he would visit his grand­par­ents in the sum­mer months. He’s still a mem­ber there.

Con­nelly, whose fa­ther, Bill, was born in Toronto, holds du­al­ci­t­i­zen­ship and has been a part of Golf Canada’s Na­tional Team in the past. He also rep­re­sented Canada at the Pan Amer­i­can Games in 2015.

Con­nelly was dis­ap­pointed to de­cline Golf Canada’s in­vite — he fin­ished tied for 79th at the 2015 Canadian Open — be­cause he said he feels the sup­port of Canadian fans wher­ever he goes.

“You just don’t get that (kind of sup­port) in other places,” he said. “Hon­estly, they are the best fans in the world. It doesn’t mat­ter where I am. I’ve got so much sup­port in Nova Sco­tia and just so many close fam­ily mem­bers and friends.” Golf Canada’s Lau­rence Ap­ple­baum, said Con­nelly did his coun­try proud. He was “se­cretly hop­ing” Con­nelly would ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion. “It speaks to the depth of Canadian golf there’s some­one not a lot of peo­ple know who can fin­ish tied for 14th at the Bri­tish Open.”

DAVE THOMP­SON, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Canadian/Amer­i­can cit­i­zen Austin Con­nelly will not be at the Canadian Open this week.

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