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Pro golf tour event coming to Fort Erie, Ontario

Western New York golf fans have an opportunity to attend a pro golf tournament just across the border, when Cherry Hill Golf Club in Fort Erie hosts an event that was a late addition this summer to the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada schedule.

The Niagara Championship, which hosts a prequalifier on Tuesday, September 6 and then opens tournament play on Thursday, September 8, was added to the pro tour schedule when officials opted to cancel a previously scheduled tournament, due to wildfires that raged in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

"Luckily, we have a relationship with the board of directors and staff at Cherry Hill," said Scott Pritchard, director of tournament business affairs for the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada. "We'd been talking to them  for quite some time about bringing an event down to the region. With the leadership of the board and the commitment from the members, we were able to bring a replacement event to the region, which we're looking forward to."

Cherry Hill hosted the Canadian Open in 1972. The Mackenzie Tour is tour through which players, based on their success, may advance to the Web.com Tour, and in turn play with the hope to advance to the PGA Tour. A large number of the golfers are U.S. citizens.

Pritchard says each tour stop generates an estimated local economic impact of two to four million dollars. Given the number of U.S. citizens on the tour and Buffalo's proximity to Fort Erie, Pritchard suggests some of that windfall will likely come to this side of the border.

"A number of players will likely fly up into Buffalo and either stay on the American side or rent cars in Buffalo and take them over," he said. "There's a number of elements that will come into play there, with the close proximity to the Niagara Region."

Admission to the tournament is free, but Pritchard says donations will be accepted at Cherry Hill to benefit Habitat for Humanity. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.