07/20/2015 07:00 EDT | Updated 07/20/2016 05:59 EDT

Marcelo Rozo Wins Pan Am Gold, Spot In PGA Tour Event At Canadian Open

Gabriel Rossi/STF via Getty Images
TIGRE, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 08: Marcelo Rozo of Colombia celebrates after wining the 108th VISA Open Argentina at Nordelta Golf Club on December 08, 2013 in Tigre, Argentina. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Marcelo Rozo was supposed to go to New York this week to visit his girlfriend, whom he hadn't seen in two months.

That'll have to wait a little bit longer, and Rozo is OK with it. That's because the Colombian golfer will get to play his first PGA Tour event at the RBC Canadian Open in the Toronto suburb of Oakville.

Rozo got an exemption into the storied tournament by virtue of winning the men's gold medal at the Pan Am Games. Rozo had been struggling on the lower-level Tour but had lost his status.

"I'm glad to be back," Rozo told Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons.

After presenting him with the exemption, Simmons welcomed Rozo to the PGA Tour. Not much would've topped a trip to New York, but this qualified.

"I can trade this," Rozo said Sunday. "I'm pretty excited. Obviously it's a pretty good moment."

Leading Saturday night, Rozo told his girlfriend this outcome was possible. She was cool with it, too.

"She was very happy, very excited, very supportive," Rozo said. "I'm thankful for that. It's not easy. Man I'm going to enjoy my week next week."

Just playing big-time golf is a boon for Rozo, who hadn't made the cut in a single Tour event in 2015. But he tied the course record at Angus Glen Golf Club in the inaugural Pan Am golf competition on the way to gold.

"I haven't played good all year," Rozo said. "Golf is a tough sport, though. I just needed to stay patience. This is something I always believe in. One week will change everything, and I think this one is heading in the right direction."

Canada's Austin Connelly hopes for the same after shooting four subpar rounds to finish fifth at the Pan Ams. The 18-year-old from Dallas whose father is Nova Scotian shot 8-under for the tournament, and Rozo expects Connelly "will have good things to come in his future."

Next up is Glen Abbey, where Connelly was one of 14 Canadians confirmed to play as of Sunday night.

"Golf, a big part of it's momentum, confidence going from week to week," Connelly said. "I have a fair amount of confidence right now. I feel like I'm rolling it really nicely. I have a couple of adjustments I have to make for my full swing, but I think I'll be ready for the Canadian Open next week."

Connelly played in the final group at Pan Ams, with Rozo and bronze medallist Felipe Aguilar of Chile. He was in medal contention all week and showed he could hold his own against professionals.

"I feel like I'm ready," Connelly said. "I certainly didn't bring my best this week, and I was still right there with them. ... I feel like I can certainly play with them."

Rozo will get that chance, too. Colombian teammate and women's gold medallist Mariajo Uribe was surprised this will be Rozo's first PGA Tour event.

"That's awesome," she said.

In a field that's expected to include top-10-ranked golfers Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Jason Day, Rozo is a small fish in a deep pond. But the Pan Am champion will be welcome with open arms at the Canadian Open.

"I think it's fantastic," Simmons said. "You'd like to welcome an international field. You like to have pros, amateurs, so to have the inaugural winner of the Pan Am Games golf competition coming to Glen Abbey to play the RBC Canadian Open next week is a real treat."


Canadian Gold Medallists At Pan Am Games