Ontario PGA Member John Rushnell to Join Gar Hamilton at U.S. Senior Open -Rushnell in After Spot Opens Up

7/15/2009

Ontario PGA Member John Rushnell to Join Gar Hamilton at U.S. Senior Open
-Rushnell in After Spot Opens Up

(Pickering, Ont., July 15, 2009) – After winning a playoff to become an alternate to play in the 2009 U.S. Senior Open John Rushnell (Black Diamond) crossed his fingers and hoped he would get that fateful call to play. Fortunately for John that call came this morning from the USGA informing him he would be joining fellow Canadian PGA Professional Gar Hamilton (Mississaugua) at Crocked Stick for the U.S. Senior Open on July 30 – August 2, 2009.

“I have been waiting by my phone since the qualifier and now I feel like a kid in a candy store,” said an elated Rushnell. “My first call was to my wife (Kim) and she screamed she was so happy,” he added.

Rushnell’s qualifying site was at Fox Chapel Golf Club just outside of Pittsburgh where the Oshawa native shot a round of even par 70 on June 25, 2009. After winning a playoff to become the first alternate at his site, USGA officials informed him that an alternate usually gets in from Fox Chapel.

“I think it has to do the quality of the field and possibly the rating of the golf course in terms of difficulty,” explained Rushnell. “I don’t know for sure how I was selected but in the end it doesn’t really matter, I’m in the Open!”

Rushnell, who won last week’s Ontario PGA Senior Summer Championship in Kleinburg will begin his preparation tomorrow at Black Diamond Golf Club where he is the Teaching Professional.

“Physically my game is there, but mentally I will be working on my pre shot routine and really concentrating on all my shots,” said Rushnell. “My game this year has been great and I am playing for the shear enjoyment of the game rather than score, money etc…”

The simple fact that Rushnell qualified to play in the U.S. Senior Open is a Cinderella story on its own. You see Rushnell is a retired GM worker who began a second career as a golf professional in 1997. Working nights at GM and days at Oliver’s Nest Golf Club, Rushnell moved through the Canadian PGA ELITE Apprentice program covering off all the requirements as quickly as he could obtaining his Class ‘A’ status in 2002.

“I began playing golf when I was 28 years old and absolutely fell in love with the game,” said Rushnell now 54. “I really started playing well when I was 40 and had aspirations of playing professionally as a senior,” continued Rushnell who narrowly missed a European Senior Tour card in 2003 finishing in 33rd place after a disastrous 8 on a par 3. “I would still be chasing the dream, but it comes down to economics and I just can’t justify it,” he added.

The chance to compete in the U.S. Senior open is a dream come true for Rushnell who retired from GM in 2002.

“I am going to have a blast, this is a perk in life especially at our age,” said Rushnell, who now focuses on helping other golfers achieve their golf dreams. “I really enjoy what I’m doing and to see my students do well is an absolute treat.”

Rushnell joins Gar Hamilton as the only other Canadian in the U.S. Senior Open field. The last time a Canadian let alone two Canadians participated in the U.S. Senior open was 2007 when Dave Barr (BC) and Norm Jarvis (BC) both missed the cut.  The 2009 U.S. Senior Open begins July 30th, please stay tuned to ontariopga.com for up to date information on Rushnell and Hamilton.


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