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Sharp headlines Canada's golf team for the Santiago Pan American Games

Alena Sharp Alena Sharp - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Canada's golf team believes it can win another medal at the Pan American Games.

Myles Creighton of Digby, N.S., and Étienne Papineau of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., were named Canada's men's players for the upcoming Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday. They'll be joined by Hamilton's Alena Sharp and Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., on the women's side.

All four are making their debut at the multi-sport event that has athletes from North and South America competing in a variety of events. Canada won bronze at the 2019 Lima Games and Creighton believes it can climb the podium again.

"I think we have a great chance," said Creighton, who finished second in the final standings of the PGA Tour Latinoamerica this season. "I've played a lot in South America so obviously I know what goes into doing that.

"I've been to Santiago a few times and played there and know a little bit about the golf course."

The four athletes qualified for Team Canada based on their standing through their respective World Golf Ranking, with considerations for 2023 performance as well competition schedules on the global golf calendar.

A member of Golf Canada’s national team program, Creighton earned conditional 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership thanks to his strong showing on the Latinoamerica Tour. He also made the cut in three of five events played on PGA Tour Canada, including two top-10 finishes.

"It feels like just such a great way to cap the year off and to be able to do this will be an awesome way to finish the year," said Creighton.

Papineau, who turned professional in 2022, is coming off a great season on PGA Tour Canada that included a victory, five top-10 finishes, and 16 of 21 event cuts made. The national team member finished fourth on PGA Tour Canada’s Fortinet Cup standings to earn conditional status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour.

"It's been a long, long year, because I started the year with some injuries and fought back from them to have a great season," said Papineau, who was originally meant to be an alternate behind Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C. "It's just a really nice bonus."

Sharp is a two-time Olympian, having represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Games and again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The longtime LPGA Tour member recently made her 18th appearance at the CPKC Women’s Open where she tied for 36th.

She won the 2023 ORORO PGA Women’s Championship of Canada and is ranked 12th on the Epson Tour points list in a season that features a victory and four other top-10 finishes.

"I am honoured to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games and take great pride in representing my country," said Sharp in a statement. "In recent years I’ve tried to help and mentor younger Canadians coming up through the professional ranks and I’m looking forward to competing in Santiago alongside Selena.

"We’ve spent time together this year, I know we will have a great time, and we hope to bring a medal home for Canada."

Costabile, also a member of Golf Canada’s national team, sits 65th on the Epson Tour points list where she has three top-10 finishes. She turned professional in 2018 and will be competing in a major multi-sport Games for the first time ever.

Golf joined the Pan American Games program at Toronto 2015. At Lima 2019, Canada won its first and only Pan Am Games medal in golf — a bronze — by Austin Connelly, Mary Parsons, Joey Savoie and Brigitte Thibault in the mixed team event.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2023.