McIlroy Wins Dramatic Canadian Open

McIlroy Wins Dramatic Canadian Open

PGA TOUR

RBC Canadian Open

McIlroy Wins Dramatic Canadian Open

Sunday at the RBC Canadian Open was quite a show!

The third oldest continuously running tournament on the PGA Tour, after The Open Championship and the US Open saw many great performances! Justin Rose’s ‘59 watch’ was one of the exhilarating features. Justin Thomas produced a career matching birdie streak mid-round to vault into contention for the lead. Tony Finau delivered a long-range birdie at the closing hole from 42 feet to the tune of great applause for the runner up act. In the end, Rory McIlroy gave the best performance of the star-studded field that included five of the world’s top nine golfers. The 33-year-old Irishman claimed Canada’s National Open by two shots. It was McIlroy’s 21st PGA Tour title. And, it was the first time in his PGA Tour career McIlroy successfully defended his title. The former world No. 1 won the event the last time it was held in 2019. The RBC Canadian Open was the only North American-based PGA Tour event to miss both 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

McIlroy and Finau began the final round tied for the lead at 11-under. The Ulsterman produced a flawless front nine 5-under 29. It was McIlroys’ first sub 30 score for nine holes in his PGA Tour history. The four-time major winner started his back nine with three consecutive birdies to pull away to a three-shot lead over the field. Then, momentum shifted. McIlroy dropped shots at the 13th and 16th holes, while Thomas gained a birdie over that stretch. With two holes to play McIlroy and Thomas shared the lead at 17-under. Finau was one shot behind. The three challengers were playing in the same group. They were the last flight on the course. With the tournament on the line, McIlroy bounced back with a birdie, birdie charge that electrified the massive galleries. At the 17th hole, he cleverly crafted his approach from the first cut of rough and 128 yards to rest just two feet from the cup. Then, at the 72nd hole, McIlroy stuck his iron into the final green from 145 feet to four feet from the hole. Show over! McIlroy fired a final round 8-under 62 to reach 19-under at St George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto.

Finau matched his best result of this PGA Tour season finishing runner up at 17-under. The 32-year-old American closed with a bogey-free 6-under 64. The two-time PGA Tour winner posted a 62 on Saturday to match his lowest career round on the PGA Tour.

Thomas, aged 29, signed for a final round 6-under 64 to get to 15-under and claim solo third place. The world No. 6 produced six consecutive birdies from the 6th hole to match his longest birdie streak during his PGA Tour career. Thomas held a share of the lead standing on the 17th tee after going bogey-free over the entire weekend. His dash for his 16th PGA Tour win ended with back-to-back bogeys to close out his day. Thomas fired a third round 7-under 65 to record his 42nd career round of 7-under or better on the PGA Tour—the most by any player on the PGA Tour since 2013-14.

England’s Rose and America’s Sam Burns shared fourth place at 14-under. Rose needed a par at his last hole to fire a 59 and record the 13th sub 60 score in PGA Tour history. Rose was unable to get up-and-down for a par at the 18th after air-mailing the green on approach. He signed for a 10-under 60 to match the lowest score in the event’s history and equal his lowest career round on the PGA Tour. Burns closed with a steady 5-under 65 for his eighth top 10 result this PGA Tour season.

There were 20 Canadians in the field chasing the first win by a local at their national open since Pat Fletcher’s victory in 1954. Corey Conners led the strong contingent from Canada. The 2019 Valero Texas Open champion followed his 66 on Saturday with an impressive 8-under 62 after finding 17 greens in regulation on the final day to reach 12-under and finish solo 6th.

Australians have enjoyed success at the Canadian Open throughout the years. Joe Kirkwood won in 1933—it was the first time the event was staged at St George’s Golf & Country Club. Other Aussies to win include Jim Ferrier (1950 & ‘51), Kel Nagle (1964), Greg Norman (1984 & ’92), Nathan Green (2009) and Jason Day (2015). Cameron Smith was the best-placed this week of the five golfers from Down Under. The world No. 4 appeared unlikely to make the cut after an opening round 6-over 76. The five-time PGA Tour winner bounced back with a stunning 5-under 65 on Friday to qualify for the weekend. Smith closed with rounds of 68 and 71 to finish in a tie for 48th place at even par.

The PGA Tour moves to Massachusetts for the US Open staged at The Country Club in Brookline. Spain’s Jon Rahm is the defending champion.

Final Scores
RBC Canadian Open

1. Rory McIlroy -19
2. Tony Finau -17
3. Justin Thomas -15
T4. Sam Burns -14
T4. Justin Rose -14
6. Corey Conners -12
T7. Keith Mitchell -10
T7. Chris Kirk -10
T7. Wyndham Clark -10

Australians
T48. Cameron Smith E
T53. Brett Drewitt +1
T59. Cameron Percy +2
MC. Mark Hensby
WD. Greg Chalmers

 

Photo credit: Minas Panagiotakis /Getty Images

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