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Canadian McCann back to defend title

Daniel Augustus plays his 2nd shot short of the green on the 18th at the Gosling's Invitational at Belmont Hills. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Brian McCann is returning to defend his Gosling’s Invitational title, tournament organisers have confirmed.

The Canadian professional claimed a maiden victory in dramatic fashion at last year’s event after several near misses.

McCann fired a four-under-par 66 on the final day to come from behind and pip past winner Kirk Hanefeld by one shot at Belmont Hills.

Also back this year is Bermuda’s Camiko Smith, who topped the local field last year and was seventh overall.

Daniel Augustus, Nick Jones, Paul Adams and Dwayne Pearman are also among the local professionals vying for McCann’s title.

Pearman, the former Port Royal head professional, is the last local player to win the tournament in the early Nineties when it was known as the Belmont Invitational.

Two local players absent this year are Mark Phillips and Terence Daniels.

Phillips, who won the amateur gross division last year, and Daniels, who placed third overall as an amateur in 2010, have both been ruled out through work commitments.

Mike Hubbs, of Ontario, is back to defend his amateur crown while local Hav Trott and John Brott, of Florida, are defending their senior amateur and senior professional titles.

The number of participants has already exceeded the 83 that competed last year for the $65,000 in prize money which is again on offer.

Karen Marsh, the event coordinator, said entries are still coming in.

“At this point we’ve got 85 players that are participating this year with more people still trying to enter,” she said. “It was a little slow starting out, but it’s in good shape and is looking good.”

This year’s 72-hole tournament will be played at two different venues for the first time in the event’s history.

The opening two rounds will be played at the par-70 Belmont Hills layout, with the remaining 36 holes to be contested at the slightly longer par-71 Port Royal Golf Course.

Practice rounds will take place at Belmont Hills on Sunday and will be followed by the opening two rounds to be played over the next two days at the same venue.

The remaining two rounds will take place at Port Royal next Wednesday and Thursday.

“We are very excited for this year’s event and the success and enjoyment it will provide to our loyal participants,” Marsh added.

“We are all very pleased to be able to share two of Bermuda’s beautiful courses with our players and feel this year will make a significant mark on the Gosling’s Invitational tournament of the future.

“We have a number of new players this year participating in this event and know they are in for a real treat, both on and off the courses.”