Canadian drought lives on at the RBC Canadian Open

Since Pat Fletcher in 1954, no national has won the country's national golf tournament

Adam Hadwin holds his follow-through on a drive at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. The Abbotsford native finished 6th in the 2019 RBC Canadian Open.  PGATOUR.COM

HAMILTON – On a Sunday where three Canadians started the round in the top 10, none were able to break the 65-year-old curse at the RBC Canadian Open.

Adam Hadwin, Canada’s best hope, sat one stroke back of the lead heading into Sunday, but ultimately couldn’t put together a competitive round while eventual winner Rory McIlroy was burning up the course.

The Abbotsford, B.C., native finished the tournament in sixth at 12-under and was visibly disappointed with his performance.

“I feel like I had an opportunity today and just didn’t get it done,” Hadwin said, after posting an even round 70. “The crowd was amazing all week. That reception coming up 18 was something special.

“Just disappointed I couldn’t get it done in front of them.”

The 2017 Valspar Championship winner scrambled for a par on hole no. 2 after he missed the fairway right, and settled for a bogey on 3 after his approach ended up in the bunker.

“I just didn’t hit it well enough off the tee to set myself up,” said the 31-year-old. “I was very scrambly but very proud of the way I hung in there.”

Unfortunately for Hadwin, the trophy was likely out of his reach. With McIlroy finishing at 22-under, he would have had to match his career best, 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge, to overcome the eventual 2019 Canadian Open champion.

Finishing Friday five off the lead, McIlroy posted back-to-back top rounds, carding a 64 on Saturday and a 61 on Sunday.

“Yesterday I just felt really comfortable with my game and I played aggressively,” said the Irishman. “Was sort of swinging very freely. Shot that 64 to get myself tied for the lead today.

“I think what I’m proudest of is still playing with that freedom today going out being tied for the lead. Just putting my foot down and really making this tournament mine.”

The four-time major winner fired four birdies over his five first holes and finished his round with an eagle, a total of nine birdies, as well as two bogeys in a dominating victory.

“By the time I got to the 14th tee I wasn’t really thinking of winning the tournament,” said McIlroy. “I was thinking of trying to shoot 59. I had to reassess my goals a little bit in the middle of that back nine. This is what I feel I can do.

“It’s been a while since I won by a few shots.”

The seven-stroke lead was his largest margin of victory since the Wells Fargo Championship in 2015.

While the crowds were chasing McIlroy around hoping to see him break the course record, other Canadians still received the same amount of support.

Nick Taylor, of Winnipeg, fell out of the top ten carding a 2-over 72 to finish T27 for the tournament.

Mackenzie Hughes, the local hopeful from Dundas, Ont., ended the day disappointed like Hadwin and Taylor, dropping six spots back to T14.

“That was a really frustrating day,” said Hughes, after his one-over 71. “I actually think I played the same as I had the first day. I just couldn’t get that forward momentum going. Tons of burned edges and lip-outs.”

While he couldn’t end the curse, he had one of the most memorable moments of the weekend.

“The first day, Thursday in The Rink was pretty electric,” the 28-year-old said, of the 13th tee that was set up with hockey boards. “Putting on the jersey [Kawhi Leonard] – people were getting pretty fired up about that.”

Throughout the day, ‘Let’s Go Raptors’ chants could be heard across the course. Of the 120,000 total attendees, thousands of them came in Raptors apparel, something impossible to ignore.

The atmosphere was electric throughout the weekend and was appreciated by both the Canadians and McIlroy.

With the tournament moving up to June this year, a week prior to the U.S. Open, four of the top six players in the world were able to attend, leading to a 300 per cent increase in ticket sales.

Now that McIlroy has publicly declared his intention to defend his title, the 2020 Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club projects to be a popular stop on the tour.

About this article

Posted: Jun 10 2019 8:23 am
Filed under: Golf Sports