ALUMNI UPDATE – O’HAIR WINS RBC CANADIAN OPEN

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By Ryan Woodcock

ALUMNI UPDATE – O’HAIR WINS RBC CANADIAN OPEN IN PLAYOFF

Local boy Adam Hadwin, playing on a sponsor exemption, finishes T4

Sean O’Hair closed the weekend with rounds of 66-68 on a tough Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club course and made a bogey on the first playoff hole to earn the win at the RBC Canadian Open over Kris Blanks, another former Gateway Pro Tour player.

It was O’Hair’s fourth career win on the PGA TOUR, but his first since 2009.  He has struggled greatly in 2011, missing 10 cuts in his first 17 starts, and things seemed to hit bottom for him during the pro-am on Wednesday, which he called a “horrific” round.

“Wednesday night was my worst point of the whole year,” he said.  “I was lost on Wednesday.  To be sitting here, I just really appreciate this win.”

O’Hair opened with a 1-under 69, but faltered a little in the second round with a 3-over 70, putting him at 2-over par for the tournament heading into the weekend.  He got back into contention with his third-round 66, but still faced a 3-shot deficit heading into the final day on a course that was playing extremely difficult.

He made a couple of birdies early in the fourth round, then sandwiched two birdies with two bogeys on holes 11 and 13, and then again on 14 and 15.  He closed with pars on the last four holes and finished with a final-round 68, one of only 14 players to finish below par in the final round.

In the playoff, both O’Hair and Blanks got into trouble off the tee finding the thick rough that surrounded the tree-lined course.  O’Hair was able to get back in the fairway, while Blanks found a greenside bunker.  O’Hair wasn’t able to get up-and-down and closed with his tap-in bogey, then watched as Blanks missed a 5-footer that would have sent things to the second playoff hole, clinching the win for O’Hair.

“I’m sorry he missed the putt, but the fact that I won knowing he missed it was just overwhelming.”

O’Hair and Blanks finished the tournament at 4-under 276, the second-highest winning score on the PGA TOUR this year.  It also was the first non-major that did not have a single bogey-free round since 2008.

With the win, O’Hair jumped up to 43rd in the FedEx Cup rankings, giving him a great shot at making the playoffs in five weeks.

“It is ironic that I’m sitting here after Wednesday and how I felt, and to be holding this trophy is unbelievable,” he said.  “I’ve been holding on so tight and trying to do it forcefully.  Finally I just said ‘You know what, it’s time for me to just let go and whatever happens, happens.”

O’Hair is the sixth former Gateway Pro Tour player to win this year on the PGA TOUR.

For Blanks, he came up short but still earned more than $550,000 for his second place finish, his second career runner-up placing.  He jumped from 125th to 60th on the PGA TOUR money list.

Not lost amid the playoff finish between O’Hair and Blanks, especially among the locals, was the outstanding play of British Columbia boy Adam Hadwin.  Playing on a sponsor exemption, Hadwin had the locals in a tizzy after his second-round 66 and third-round 68, which left him at 4-under par thru 54 holes, 1-shot back of third-round leader Bo Van Pelt.

But nerves might have gotten the best of the 23-year-old, as was 5-over par thru 11 holes in the final round, which included a four-putt double bogey on the par-3 eighth hole.  He did show some composure down the stretch though, making birdie on holes 12, 13 and 14 to finish 2-over for the day and 2-under for the tournament, good enough for a T4 finish.  He missed out on becoming the first Canadian to win the tournament in 57 years, but he his T4 earned a spot in next week’s Greenbrier Classic.

“I felt like I was playing for my country out there,” Hadwin said after his round.  “It’s a little disappointing in the end. But after that front nine I had and that four putt on 8, I battled back and made it interesting coming in.”

For the week, 18 former GPT players made the cut, with three Top-10s and five Top-20s.  Spencer Levin shot a final-round 69 to finish T9, his fourth Top-10 of the year and 11th Top-20 performance of the year.

Chez Reavie shot an impressive 67 in the final round to finish T13 at 1-over par, while Tommy Gainey finished T-17 at 2-over.  For Reavie, it was his third Top-20 in his last three starts (T5, T16 and T13), while Gainey earned his eighth Top-20 of the year.

For complete results from the RBC Canadian Open CLICK HERE.

NATIONWIDE TOUR – CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL INVITATIONAL

Another great week for former GPT players on the Nationwide Tour.  Brian Smock and Josh Broadaway were the highest finishers among our former players, finishing T4 at 12-under for the tournament.  Smock played consistent all week with rounds of 66-68-69-69 to earn his second Top-10 this year; while Broadaway used a 6-under 65 in the final round to jump into the Top-5, his second Top-5 in his last two starts.

For the week, a total of 23 players made the cut, with four finishing in the Top-10 and 11 in the Top-20.  Ted Potter shot a 6-under 65 in the final round to finish T6 at 11-under, while Aaron Watkins used his opening round 65 to jump into the Top-10 at T9, 10-under par.

Roberto Castro and Troy Kelly finished T14 at 8-under par, while Jeff Gove, Andrew Svoboda, Martin Flores, Brice Garnett and Matt Davidson finished T19 at 6-under par.

Both Smock and Broadaway made huge jumps on THE 25 with their performances, with Smock moving from 75th to 21st on the list, and Broadaway vaulting from 83rd to just outside THE 25 at 26th.

Kyle Thompson is the highest-ranked former GPT player on THE 25, sitting at second.  Troy Kelly currently ranks fourth on THE 25, followed by Ted Potter (7th), Steve Wheatcroft (8th), Garth Mulroy (11th), Roberto Castro (15th), Martin Flores (16th), Matt Every (18th), Smock (21st), and Richard Lee (23rd).

For complete results from the Children’s Hospital Invitational, CLICK HERE.  For a look at the current THE 25, CLICK HERE.

Next up on the PGA TOUR is the Greenbrier Classic, July 28-31, while the Nationwide Tour heads to Sandy, Utah, for the Utah Championship, July 28-31.  Congrats to Sean O’Hair on his fourth career win, and great job by all of our former players this past weekend!