In the end, Canadians didn’t have their dream of a Canadian winning the national championship come true, but both Graham DeLaet and Brad Fritsch showed well in the final round to secure a couple of top 10 finishes at the RBC Canadian Open.
You can’t argue with Tim Clark as a champion either after he conjured up birdies on five of his last eight holes to overtake two-time tournament champ Jim Furyk.
However, the number now clicks to 61 on the years since Pat Fletcher won the 1954 Open, but that will heal until players are peppered with the same questions about it next year at Glen Abbey.
Now, the magic number is 41, as in the number of years since a Canadian last won an LPGA Tour event on Canadian soil, the last being Jocelyne Bourassa at La Canadienne in 1973, also in Montreal.
That will be the question that takes over at next month’s Canadian Pacific Women’s Open at London Hunt and Country Club in London, Ont. In both cases, the odds are against a Canadian winning on home soil, although it isn’t impossible.
The reality is that with the number of players this country has on either tour, a win would be celebrated, no matter if it took place here or in Kalamazoo, which makes it special to take a close-up view at the cast of characters who could win today or sometime in the future.
Canadians saw something good from not only DeLaet and Fritsch, the names who have been around awhile, but also those we may be talking about a few years down the road.
Next month, you can bet that even with a field of top LPGA Tour players in London, there will be extra attention paid to Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., the teenaged Canadian who tied for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open, or Augusta James of Bath, Ont., who just won the Canadian Women’s Amateur championship.
In Montreal, it was Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., a national team member who also played under Ontario Golf Hall of Famer Herb Page at Kent State.
The big-hitting Pendrith was the story of the first round when he shot a 65 to finish the day just one shot off the lead, but it wasn’t too much of a surprise when his score ballooned by 10 to a second round 75 on Friday.
Seemingly, it was over for the upstart. Nice round on Thursday, but just feel good about making the cut. Right.
Pendrith came right back on the weekend with scores of 68 and 69 to finish at three under, still well down the leaderboard, but an effort that indicates he can shake off a bad second round, even against PGA Tour players.
Here’s what he had to say about the experience after Sunday’s final round.
There’s some character behind those howitzers that he launches, which Canadians should be pleased with as they look ahead. If they do, they will likely see Pendrith trip up a few times along the way, which isn’t a criticism, but more of a reality for developing players.
Adam Hadwin knows that routine.
Playing on what was the Canadian Tour at the time, Hadwin was an unlikely contender into the final round of the 2011 RBC Canadian Open at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club before tying for fourth.
Add to that a T7 finish at another PGA Tour event, the Frys .com Open, that season and he had the can’t-miss tag hung on him. Only at the last minute did he miss graduating through the Web .com Tour money list in 2012 before frustration set in last year.
Hadwin discussed those frustrations here in a blog I did with him after winning this year’s Chile Classic on the Web .com Tour, a victory that played a big role in him being signed, sealed and delivered to the PGA Tour next season through the top 25 on the money list.
He’s been somebody to watch these past few seasons, even if he hasn’t regularly been on tour, and now he’s on his way despite those rough patches that go with the territory.
Pendrith served notice at Royal Montreal, although he’s bound to get battered and bruised as Hadwin did along the way. There are a few more 75s waiting for him once he does turn pro and he’ll need the same approach he used going into the weekend. It’s part of learning.
There are more like him coming on the men’s and women’s sides, so the story of this year’s national championships, from a Canadian perspective, isn’t so much about the last 60 years on the male side or the last 41 years at the female event.
That adds up to 101 years of perceived negativity.
The story is what’s to come.