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RBC Canadian Open Round Up: Day Six

Mike Weir tees off his final hole -- and the reaction is indicative of his struggles this week. (photo courtesy of David Donnelly)

The second round of the RBC Canadian Open saw thunderstorms hit the golf course in the early morning, delaying play. But the round was completed nonetheless, with notable names like Paul Casey and yes, Mike Weir, heading home before the weekend starts. Speaking of Weir, he hit one of the worst shots I’ve ever seen my a PGA Tour pro on the eighth hole, his final of the day. With a hybrid in his hands on the 220-yard par-3 that was playing hard into the wind, Weir left the clubface open and sliced it onto the hillside overlooking the hole. I wasn’t sure they’d even find the ball, but not only did they located it, but Weir managed to get up and down. He made no excuses on his exit interview, and refused to blame the tendinitis that flared up in his right elbow for his poor play. But I think it had to be a factor. After all, he’s been working hard to fix his driving woes and hasn’t been able to practice this week. And the hooks and blocks that have plagued him all year showed up again. Not a good week, and frankly, indicative of a tough year.

Fairway Stevie’s video asking Fred Couples, Chad Campbell and Aaron Baddelely about what their favorite distance is, and well, if they’ve ever golfed commando, is the most hysterical thing I’ve seen in some time. Couples, who is also heading home, actually seemed engaged by the questions. Watch the fun right here.

CanadianGolfer.com publisher Jeff Lancaster took his camera out on the course and got some great snaps, including a neat photo of Eugene Wong blasting out of a bunker. Worth checking out.

Canadian Adam Hadwin pumps his fist after scrambling for par on the final hole of his second round. (photo courtesy of David Donnelly)

I wrote two pieces yesterday. My first was a profile of Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin, the Canadian Tour pro who is having a blast shooting his way up the leaderboard. He even said he’d stay all day and talk to reporters after his round. He must be a good guy — who else would offer to do that? My column is here.

Adam Hadwin wasn’t expecting to be talking to media following his second round at the RBC Canadian Open. Heck, he wasn’t even sure he’d be playing professional golf at the start of the year.

The 22-year old from Abbotsford, B.C., planned to turn pro after finishing four years at the University of Louisville, but didn’t have the cash to back his ambitions. In the end he rounded up a sponsor and six members from Morgan Creek Golf Course in Vancouver and with $60,000 in backing, he made it through qualifying school for the Canadian Tour. He’s only played in four Canadian Tour events, but he finished second in two of them, good enough to get into the Canadian Open. And now, after shooting a second-round 66, he finds himself only a handful off the leader.
“I kind of have to pinch myself and think, ‘Is this real?'” he said. “Am I really doing this right now? So it’s been a lot of fun.”
The self-proclaimed “pretty lazy guy,” played like someone much more experienced, according to his playing partners, which included Oshawa’s Jon Mills, and first-round leader Brent Delahoussaye.
“He’s a good player and just fresh out of college and doesn’t look like any of this is affecting him,” Delahoussaye said. “He hits it long and he can putt it really well.”
Mills said Hadwin, who he hadn’t met previously, played fearlessly. Apparently that was just an outside appearance – Hadwin says on the inside he was flustered by his first PGA Tour experience.
“Oh I was,” he says, smiling. “You just couldn’t tell.”

 

Lots of others wrote about Hadwin too. The Toronto Sun has a profile, while Jeremy Sandler at the Post notes Hadwin was celebrating by going to a CFL game.   I think I enjoyed Hamilton Spectator reporter Garry McKay’s piece on Hadwin best of all.

Tim Clark, who seemingly always finds the fairway, is in the top spot with Dean Wilson after the second round. He said he was surprised by how low the scores have been. Note that Clark didn’t actually see the course until the pro-am on Wednesday:

“I certainly didn’t expect to be scoring on this course,” said Clark, who collected his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this year with a victory at the Players Championship.

“I felt like it was going to be pretty tough but I’ve been hitting the driver pretty well and driving the fairway I think is huge on this golf course.”

The Globe talks to John Collins, a St. George’s resident, who erected a viewing platform to see the action on the second hole:

“They seem to have got a real kick out of the fact that we’ve done this,” Mr. Collins said in hushed tones on Friday, as play carried on a few metres away.

His set-up is one of the more obvious ones among a scattering of tents and platforms that poke up from properties next to St. George’s, which sits in a leafy west-end enclave of grand old homes. The course, which hasn’t been host of the Canadian Open since 1968, is nestled more intimately among homes than is typical for professional golf events.

“I’ve actually got passes for the tournament,” said Mr. Collins, a long-time member of the exclusive club, “but I haven’t had to use them yet.”

Score’s Peter Robinson, who sits at my table in the media room this week (yep, we work from tables) has an interesting assessment of what he characterized as CanTour Commissioner Rick Janes’ wet dream. I think the headline got toned done for actual publication, but Robinson provides his take on the success of Canadian Tour regulars and alumni this week:

When Rick Janes dreams his dreams, you have to wonder if they are any better than what happened in real life at the RBC Canadian Open on Friday.

Can Tour players past and present were peppered all over the leaderboard, with a healthy mix of young and old, notable and relatively unknown.

Highlighted by Rob Grube and Brock Mackenzie, both in the clubhouse at eight-under 132, but buttressed by the play of top homebrew Adam Hadwin at six-under, Janes was beaming at the performance of his players on Friday. All three earned spots in the event as part of the six exemptions the Canadian Tour awarded through a special order of merit.

In addition, alumni Tim Herron, Tim Clark, Spencer Levin and Jason Bohn meant several players with strong Canadian Tour connections were in contention as the weekend looms.

The Star’s soon to be retired Dave Perkins has an insightful take on another old guy— 93-year old Gord DeLaat, whose experiences with St. George’s go back to the 1930s:

And Gord knows. The 30-year head pro at Toronto’s Weston Golf and Country Club, these days still playing — and well — and teaching a little at his own Mayfield Golf Club in Caledon East, played in that ’68 Open, won by Bob Charles. He also played in the 1949 Open here — total purse $9,200 — and can even recall his first trip around St. George’s. That was in, ahem, 1934 and DeLaat, then only 17, was playing in the Ontario Caddies Championship. Finished second, too, in a field that included Herb Carnegie, the old hockey star.

“It was a different course back then,’’ DeLaat said, surveying the first hole. “There were more traps and we teed off down toward the bottom of the hill, where the putting green is now. We hit drivers and I think I hit about an 8-iron in, or the equivalent of a modern 8-iron. Now they chip it to the green.’’

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

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