Sean O’Hair defeats Kris Blanks on second hole of playoff at RCB Canadian Open in Vancouver, B.C.

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SeanO'Hair Wins Canadian Open

SeanO'Hair Wins Canadian Open

Sean O’Hair turned around the worst week of his most trying golf season on an even tougher golf course.

Not even he imagined it was possible just four days ago.

Coming off a frustratingly close missed cut at the British Open, and in the midst of his worst season on the PGA Tour, O’Hair “played horrific” in Wednesday’s Pro-Am on the eve of the RBC Canadian Open.

All of which made him savor the victory four days later that much more.

O’Hair won after tapping in for bogey on the first playoff hole Sunday, and then watching fellow American Kris Blanks lip out his bogey putt from just over 5 feet. It was the fourth PGA Tour victory for O’Hair, but his first since 2009 and first top-15 during a season in which he’s missed 10 of 17 cuts coming in.

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

The 29-year-old didn’t see any irony in ending his slump at the Canadian Open in a season in which he’s already fired a couple of Canadians — swing coach Sean Foley, who also now works with Tiger Woods, and caddie Brennan Little. He had plenty of praise for both, but did find some irony in how the week played out.

“It is ironic that I’m sitting here after Wednesday and how I felt, and to be holding this trophy is unbelievable,” said O’Hair, adding he the breakthrough started after reading the Bible later that night. “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.’”

It worked on a course that punished anyone who tried to force things.

O’Hair started three shots off the lead before shooting 68 to get into a playoff with Blanks (70) at 4-under 276. It was the second-highest winning total on the PGA Tour this season, and the first non-major without a bogey-free round since 2008. Only eight players finished under par on the tree-lined Shaugnessy Golf and Country Club, so it was perhaps fitting it was won with a bogey.

After a tough week, O’Hair didn’t mind seeing Blanks miss.

“There is not one second I’m not feeling like I’m going to just puke,” said O’Hair, whose $936,000 winning share was almost triple his season earnings coming into the week, and vaulted him up 104 places in the FedExCup playoff standings to 43rd with five weeks left in the race. “I’m sorry he missed the put but the fact I won knowing he missed it was just overwhelming.”

Playing the 472-yard, par-4 18th again, O’Hair and Blanks both drove it into the thick rough that many players compared unfavorably to the U.S. Open.

O’Hair’s second shot came up short, but in the fairway, while Blanks ended up in a greenside bunker. He’d gotten up and down from the same spot on his final hole with a 10-foot putt to join the playoff, but couldn’t keep it on the green the second time. After O’Hair two-putted from 21 feet, Blanks chipped it past the hole and, putting on the same line as his last hole, lipped out.

“I’m still a little (ticked),” Blanks said despite doubling his winnings this season with $561,600, and jumping from 116 to 54th in the FedExCup standings. “The more I think about it, the more I’ll probably get upset at the shots I gave away.”

So will Argentina’s Andres Romero, who was 4 over through nine holes before making five birdies in his next seven to tie for the lead. But he missed a 22-foot par putt on No. 18 that would have put him in the playoffs after leaving his bunker shot well short, finishing with an even-par 70 in the final round and alone in third place at 277.

John Daly shot 72 to finish in a four-way tie for ninth at 280 — his first top-10 in six years — with current Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, amateur sensation Patrick Cantley, and Spencer Levin, who all closed with 69s. Despite his over-par finish, Daly said he was taking lots of positives away.

“A ton,” Daly said. “In the past, I would have shot an 80 or 82 today.”

Canadian Adam Hadwin, a local playing on a sponsor’s exemption, struggled early before bouncing back late to finish with a 72 and tied with Australian Geoff Ogilvy (70) for fourth at 2 under. Hadwin, in his second year on the third-tier Canadian Tour, was 5 over after a four-putt double bogey on the par-3 8th and another bogey on the tough par-4 11th, but birdied his next three holes. The 23-year-old failed to end a 57-year drought for Canadians at their national open, but did earn another PGA Tour start at next week’s Greenbrier Classic.

“I felt like I was playing for my country out there … brought it back and gave them something to cheer about,” said Hadwin. “I ll catch a flight tomorrow. I ve got celebrating to do tonight.”

NOTES: Ernie Els had the best round of day, a 66 that vaulted him into a tie for 17th in a group that also included world No. 1 Luke Donald (67). Els’ best finish since March moved him to 131 in the FedExCup standings, while Donald moved up one spot to fifth. … Third-round leader Bo Van Pelt was still atop the leaderboard at 5 under at the turn, but played the next five holes at 4 over to finish in a tie for sixth with Scott Piercy (69) and Woody Austin (68).

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Canadian still trying to make cut after five events

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Matt McQuillan

Matt McQuillan

Kingston golfer Matt McQuillan fell just short of making the cut at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open on Friday.

The tour rookie shot two-over-par 74 in the second round, leaving McQuillan at one-over for 36 holes. The cut line was one under.

McQuillan now has missed the cut in his past five tournaments after qualifying for the final two rounds in his PGA Tour debut — the Sony Open in Hawaii.

McQuillan is not in the field next week at the Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Americans Chris Tidland, Troy Matteson and James Driscoll lead the Puerto Rico Open at 10 under. Calgary’s Stephen Ames is one stroke back, while David Hearn of Brantford is four shots off the pace.

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Canadian PGA Tour Pro Matt McQuillan shines on first event

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Matt McQuillan

Matt McQuillan

Matt McQuillan can honestly say he was not a nervous wreck on the first tee at his first career PGA Tour event.

The Kingston golfer got the jitters out of the way earlier.

“I was definitely way more nervous on the practice tee,” McQuillan, 29, said. “Once I settled down and just started hitting some shots, I just stuck to the basics. I felt pretty good and I hit it great most of the day.”

The scorecard backed up McQuillan’s thoughts. The professional journeyman shot a 2-under 68 on Friday in the rain-delayed opening round of the Sony Open in Honolulu — an outstanding start for the recent PGA Tour Qualifying School graduate.

With heavy rains washing out a practice round on Wednesday and the first round Thursday at the Waialae Country Club, McQuillan showed no signs of rust, notching seven birdies on the day.

After the conclusion of his morning round, McQuillan stood in the top 10, four strokes behind Stuart Appleby of Australia. McQuillan’s score matched those posted by notable names like Davis Love III and John Daly.

“It all seems a bit surreal,” McQuillan said. “It’s definitely right where you want to be.”

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Mike Weir makes major announcement for 2011

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Mike WeirCanadian PGA Touring Professional Mike Weir held a conference call with reporters to make the announcement his 2011 season will begin with the appointment of a new veteran caddie, Peter Bender, replacing his long time friend Brendan Little, who announced himself late in 2010, that he was leaving Weir’s employ to work for Sean O’Hair. Although the 2011 season started with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, Weir will not be joining the tour until the Bob Hope Classic on January 19th. in La Quinta, California. The 2010 seaon marked the worst season the past Master’s Champion has had since joining the PGA Tour since 1999.

One of the reasons for Weir’s terrible year in 2010 was the fact that he missed more than three months on the Tour when he suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his right elbow. His year was a complete mess when he decided to shut things down in August. His play at that point had found him in the top ten during the 2010 season and that was at last years Hope Classic in January.

“I’m 100 per cent confident I’ll be back as one of the best players in the world,” Weir said.

Due to his injury in 2010, Weir has been granted a minor medical exemption by the PGA Tour. This will give him 5 tournaments to try and increased his earnings to that of the 125th player on the 2010 money list. In order for Weir to maintain his full-time tour status card for 2011, he will have to add another $227,885 to his 2010 earnings of $559,092 which left him in the 151st position when he left with the injury.

If for some reason Weir is not able to accomplish this increase in his earnings by the end of the 5th tournament, he will have to invoke a lifetime earnings exempton that he has accummulated in his career, in order to play full time in the 2011 season. Weir has made over $26 million during his PGA Tour career. He shares this status with the great Canadian George Knudson, with his 8 PGA Tour wins. Mike’s last victory came in 2007 but since then, he has slipped to No. 177 in the World Golf Rankings.

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Home town crowd awaits Canadian’s debut on PGA Tour

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MattMcQuillan

Matt McQuillan

The plan right now is for Matt McQuillan to play in his first-ever PGA Tour event at next week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, but maybe not. Wherever McQuillan does make his debut, television ratings will spike at least somewhat as the historic city of Kingston tunes in.

His homies sure had the social media outlets buzzing as they watched McQuillan, 29, tie for 16th at qualifying school last month, which touched off a flood of e-mails and phone calls.

“I’ve had just great support and it was definitely magnified after Q-school. Everybody had their well wishes and I appreciate all of them,” he said. “It’s great to have lots of followers and people’s support and I just hope I can perform well.”

Before he does that, he has to know when he’ll get a chance to perform. He’s No. 31 on the priority list for getting into tournaments, which means, at least early in the season, McQuillan will have to wait until the Friday before each event before knowing if he’s in or out.

Still, he’s taking care of business. Last week, McQuillan was in the California desert, playing practice rounds for the Bob Hope Classic, another tournament he hopes to get into after the Sony. Whatever event marks his debut, McQuillan is armed with the confidence of a solid performance at Q-school.

“I’m sure it will be pretty overwhelming at first, but I think once the first tee shot is hit, I’ll settle in nicely. I’ve always been pretty good at doing that,” said McQuillan, now happy that he decided to return to golf after a two-year absence.

Before earning his card, McQuillan had taken a couple of stabs at Q-school, the previous try coming in 2005, but he took off the 2007 and 2008 seasons to work at home.

“It was financial issues. I just ran out of money and I felt a little tired of asking people for it,” he said.

“Working in Kingston over those two years made me realize how good I had it playing golf for a living and I was getting keen about getting out there again and was fortunate enough to find some support from home,” McQuillan said.

Much of that local support came from members at the Garrison Golf and Curling Club, where McQuillan played most of his life, so he set out once again, mostly playing the eGolf mini-tour around the Carolinas and the Canadian Tour, so his rocket to the PGA Tour seems somewhat unlikely.

“I do see where people are coming from with that,” he admitted.

“I’ve been playing competitive golf for a number of years and always realized I had the potential to get to the next level, but without performing, you start to have some self-doubts, but I had a lot of support from back home and people believed in me that I can do it and finally believed it myself,” McQuillan added.

After his 11-under performance at Q-school, he says his confidence is solid, but it was a little shaky at the beginning.

“It was, probably going into the first stage,” he said. “I hadn’t played particularly well most of the year. There were some good tournaments, but not as many as I’d like.”

Towards the end of the season, McQuillan and Kevin Dickey, who has been his coach for 16 years, decided it was not only time for some minor swing changes, but also some attitude adjustment.

“It was mostly being more positive on the course and accepting that mistakes are going to happen and all you can do is move forward,” he said.

Move forward he will, if not next week then likely the week after, but even though most people in the gallery won’t know him, McQuillan knows there are familiar faces back home giving him an added push.

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Canadian PGA Pro out for 8 weeks with bum back

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GrahamDelaet2

Graham Delaet out for 8 weeks

A bum back. Weyburn, Sask.’s Graham DeLaet isn’t the first pro golfer to be knocked off course by a sore spine, but there’s always concern when a young gun is put under the knife to fix. Today DeLaet, who became the first Canadian PGA Tour pro to retain his tour card in his rookie season when he made slightly more than $950,000 last year, will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc.

The injury stemmed from an old hockey accident, DeLaet told me last year, and recurred last fall while he was attempting to retain his tour card. Despite not being able to practice, DeLaet had some of his best tournaments of the year, with three Top 20 finishes in his last four events.

According to DeLaet’s agent, the golfer will be in rehab for eight weeks after the surgery. His agent characterized the surgery as “minor.” In my mind there’s no such thing as “minor” back surgery when it comes to golfers.  Bad backs have derailed the careers of some of the best in the business — like Fred Couples and Davis Love III.

Hopefully DeLaet will manage to make it back in time for the Shell Houston Open at the end of March, the tournament where he had his breakthrough in 2010, finishing third.

In the meantime, expect several of the six Canadians on tour to tee it up at next week’s Sony Open.

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CPGA player going for back surgery before season starts

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Graham DeLaet

Graham DeLaet

Got this email from Graham DeLaet’s agent, George  Sourlis of the Landmark Sport Group informing me that the Saskatchewan PGA golfer is going to have minor back surgery to repair a herniated disc.


DeLaet, Sourlis said, has been battling back problems all year but herniated the disc late in the season which was the reason he had to miss the final event of the Fall Series.

Even so, DeLaet finished 100th on the PGA Tour money list earning just under $1 million to keep his PGA card and finish as the top Canadian on Tour.

More amazing really is DeLaet’s strong finish despite the back problems. He tied for fifth in the Viking Classic on Oct. 3, had a top 25 finish in the McGladrey Classic on Oct. 10, tied for sixth in the Oct. 17 Frys.com Open and ended the season with another top 20 finish in the Justin Timberlake Sriners Hospitals for Children Open on Oct. 24.

DeLaet won $360,000 in those four events.

The back problems probably go a long way to understanding why DeLaet missed consecutive cuts in August and missed three straight cuts and four of five in the spring after  after finishing third in the Shell Houston Open which banked him $336,000.

DeLaet, who weighs less than 170 pounds but absolutely stripes the ball, finished 6th in driving distance averaging over 305 yards and also finished sixth in the key greens in regulation category. His problem was putting where he finished 167th on Tour and 174th in putts per round. It short putts that especially hurt the Weyburn product as he was 110th from three to five feet, 169th from 5-15 feet and 150th from inside five feet.

The last time I talked with DeLaet, who tied for eighth at the 108-hole, final stage of last year’s Q-School where the top-25 finishers and ties received exempt PGA status, he said he had gone back and forth between long, belly and short putters and thought he had it figured out.  For two years he had played using a long putter but then moved back to a more traditioinal short putter which he stuck with and saw his putting stats improve.

Sourlis said ‘the minor surgery will be performed on January 3rd, 2011 and will require 8 weeks of rehab. After several weeks of exercise and therapy, DeLaet’s medical team advised him to proceed with the routine surgery. A complete recovery is fully anticipated.’

DeLaet will miss a few early season events but he is still focused on not only retaining his status as top Canadian on the PGA Tour, but to also capture his first victory on the PGA Tour and become one of the top players in the world said Sourlis.

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CPGA’s First Ever Event in the Coachella Valley for Inaugural Desert Dunes Classic

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The Canadian Professional Golf Tour will be making it’s first ever tour stop to the Coachella Valley when the Desert Dunes Golf Club will be hosting the Inaugural Desert Dunes Classic on November 4th – 7th, 2010. Because this is an official event with a purse of $150,000, it will offer Official World Ranking points and will also have local qualifying on the Sunday prior to the event, October 31st. For those interested in the local qualifying, they are asked to please contact officials at www.cantour.com to register. Registration for this event will close at 5pm Eastern Time on October 28th, 2010.

Dunes Golf Club or at two locations of Lumpy’s Golf, either in La Quinta or Cathedral City. Prices for the event are $20 for single-day pass and multi-day passes are $35. Both ticket prices also allow for the admission of children under 12 as long as they are accompanied by an adult ticket holder. For those who golf, your ticket will also entitle the holder to discounted greens fees at the Desert Dunes following the event.

The course, which was crafted by legendary golf course designer and architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., offers an ideal setting as it combines the classic links style design with that of a desert course. The course has been rated to be one of the Top 30 public courses in the United States and was also given a Four Star Place to Play by Golf Digest. It is widely considered one of the best courses in the Coachella Valley. The 6,876 yard course was opened inn 1989 and has previously hosted events for the PGA Tour Qualifying School as well as the 1998 U.S. Open qualifier.

The CPGA event has been scheduled between the first and second stages of the PGA Tour Qualifying School in an attempt to keep those players sharp for what is considered the toughest tests in golf. Canadian Tour players that are expected to attend the qualifying event will include Aaron Goldberg (Carlsbad), who is currently the Canadian Tours’s leading money winner; Bryon Smith (Rancho Mirage), the Canadian Tour’s 2007 Rolex Player of the Year; and Alex Coe (La Quinta), a 2008 Canadian Tour Champion.

“Some very prominent players have emerged from the Canadian Tour over the years, including Mike Weir, Steve Stricker, Tim Herron, Stuart Appleby and Scott McCarron” said Canadian Tour Commissioner Richard Janes. “With the quality of the Desert Dunes Course and the strength of the field, there’s a good possibility that this event will produce a champion we will be hearing about for a long time.”

The Desert Dunes was purchased by a Canadian ownership group late in 2009 and one of the owners, Kevin Martin, a member of the gold medal winning Canadian Curling team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The CPGA, Desert Dunes Classic is a precursor to a very comprehensive long term improvement plan that the group have planned for the facility.

“We’re excited and proud to host this event, and welcome the opportunity to showcase the quality of our course,” said Mike Nyhuis, co-founder of the new Canadian ownership group. “It will be a fun and exciting week that will include a pro-am as well as a junior clinic on Saturday afternoon.”

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A Sizzling 6 Under 66 by Brian McCann of Mississauga, Ont Wins the 2010 Titleist & FootJoy Canadian PGA Assistant’s Championship

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McCann Wins CPGA Asst's Championship

It looked like a heavyweight fight instead of the Titleist & FootJoy Canadian PGA Assistant’s Championship as Mississauga, Ontario’s Brian McCann and North Vancouver’s Bryn Parry fought it out at the Gorge Vale Golf Club in Victoria, B.C. In the end, it would be Brian McCann, a teaching professional at the Academy of BraeBen, and his 6 under 66 would take the win. The event was sponsored by Simmlands Insurance.

“I got off to such a good start that I kept thinking that today might be the day to turn my entire year around,” said McCann, who joined the Canadian PGA Apprentice Program in 2010 after spending a number of years in the Association’s Tournament Player Division on the Nationwide Tour & Canadian Tour. “Bryn is such a good player and I think I played as well as I did because I knew I had to have a great round just to beat him.”

In an almost mechanical style of golf, McCann would miss only 3 greens in regulation for the entire week and post an incredible sixteen birdies with only two bogies. “It still really hasn’t sunk in how awesome this is,” stated McCann who had to race to the airport with his $9,000 dollars in winnings to catch a flight back to Toronto. “I’ve won some big events in the past but to win a Canadian PGA National Championships surrounded by my peers is something else and I’m really proud of it.”

In an incredible turn of events, Parry had begun the final round two shots ahead of McCann, but within six holes, McCann had made 4 birdies. Not to be out done, Bryn Parry made three birdies of his own in the same six holes, and stayed ahead of Brian McCann by one shot. The big swing came on the final nine holes when Parry would make bogie on the twelfth and fifteenth holes while McCann would make birdie on the thirteenth and sixteenth holes to wind up going to the eighteenth hole up by three shots.

“I had a bunch of uncharacteristic miss hits today that I usually don’t have to worry about when I play,” said Parry, who will tee it up at PGA Tour Qualifying School in Hawaii this fall. “Brian played awesome golf today and he deserved it. He played exactly how I thought I was going to play today and I was happy to congratulate him after the round for getting the job done.”

Gorge Vale Golf Club Assistant Professional Germain Francoeur of Victoria, BC played another steady round of golf, a 2-under par 70, to finish tied for 10th place with Palsenbarg and Shingo Akizuki of Richmond, BC

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Legacy Golf Course play TAG with New Installation from Surrey BC Company

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DSG Fleet Solutions

The Legacy Golf Clubin Las Vegas, Nevada has become the first club in the state to install the flagship product, TAG, from DSG Fleet Solutions of Surrey, BC. DSG Fleet Solutions are the Fleet Management and Geo-fencing for the Golf industry. The Legacy had the system installed just in time for the Golf Inc. tournament scheduled for October 4th., 2010.

“We are thrilled that an operation the stature of the Legacy is our first installation in Nevada” said Rob Silzer, Vice President of Sales for DSG. With the diverse terrain of the course and variety of events they hold, the TAG is an excellent solution for their operations team” added Silzer.

“I was very impressed when I saw the management and protection capabilities of the TAG” said Tom Vold, Director of Golf Legacy Golf Club. “I would much rather our staff was free to concentrate on our customer experience and generating revenue than chasing and organizing golf carts, I think this is really going to help make our daily routine more efficient” added Vold.

The “Tag” system is designed for both golf carts and “Tag Utility” was designed for turf equipment and utility vehicles. The system combines GPS and cellular enabled hardware, combined with proprietary web based software. It was developed by DSG Fleet Solutions specifically for the golf industry. The “Tag Utility” system helps to protect certain areas for course superintendents by enforcing restrictions put on sensitive areas such as greens, tee boxes and cart path enforcement. This is accomplished by the state of the art Geo-fencing Whereby the “Tag” system helps to promote your pace of play and individual cart use. In the overall picture, the “Tag and Tag Utility” systems are ultimately a theft prevention system by maintaining constant positioning on any piece of equipment that has the system installed on it. This is accomplished by letting the club no that a piece of equipment is not where it is supposed to be.

The “Tag Utility” system can be an invaluable asset to course superintendents  by  managing turf fleet patterns, keeping track of equipment, employee safety and theft prevention. The average price per piece of equipment to have the “Tag” systems installed is approximately $20 per month. If you are interested in having this system install on your course, you can reach DSG Fleet Solutions for a video presentation at: www.dsgtag.com.

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