July 26, 2018
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Whenever the PGA Tour arrives in Canada for the Canadian Open, American Robert Garrigus always seems to shine. His first round today at Glen Abbey was no exception, where he shot a bogey-free 63, which consisted of nine birdies.
“Glen Abbey is a lot of fun,” Garrigus stated to the media after the round. “I shoot 62 on Saturday last year and then back it up with a little 63 here today. Could have been 59 if a couple putts didn’t lip out.”
Garrigus’s round caught fire when he birdied holes two through six. He nearly got a hole-in-one on the par-3 7th and made a crucial up-and-down on 11 to avoid getting the first bogey on the card.
“From holes two through six, I was hitting everything about a couple feet to the pin. I knew it was going to be good if I could just keep going,” stated Robert. “I made some good par putts down the stretch and was able to birdie the last few par-5’s. It was a good day.”
Garrigus’ Career Shows Positive Results in Canada
Coming into this week, Garrigus had been struggling, with only one top-10 this year when he finished tied for eighth at the Farmers Insurance Open. Last week at the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky, he shot a 79 on Sunday, putting the golfer out of contention and into a tie for 66th.
Something about Canada appeals to Garrigus’s game. At the 2012 Canadian Open in Hamilton, the same site for next year’s tournament, Garrigus was the 54-hole leader. While he ended up losing the tournament to Scott Piercy, Robert has the lowest 72-hole score by a non-winner in the history of the Canadian Open with 264.
“I’ve always played well in Canada. There’s a lot of good vibes here,” stated Garrigus. “The fans are amazing here. They really love their Canadian golfers and golf in general. They’ve always cheered for me, which is pretty cool.”
Currently, the American sits first in strokes gained approach to the green (3.658) and scrambling (5/5), totaling 13/18 greens in regulation and only needing 23 putts in his first round. Garrigus is looking confident and hopes to build on this first round success for the rest of the tournament.
“I really have believed that a round like this was going to happen. Even though I shot a million on Sunday between the two days, I just felt like there was something coming. It’s nice to get the mojo and close a solid round off with a couple of birdies down the stretch.”
Hometown Hearn In Contention
Born and raised very close to Glen Abbey Golf Club in Brantford, Ontario, David Hearn shot an opening round 68, having the clubhouse lead among the 21 Canadians in the field. Hearn recorded 14 of 18 greens in regulation and hit 50% of his fairways during his opening round. What was most impressive was the Canadian’s putting; he never missed a putt within 10 feet and recorded five birdies on the card.
“Overall, I am positive about the way I played,” stated Hearn after the round. “Four under is a good score, even though I did leave some birdies out there today.”
Hearn is still searching for his first victory on the PGA Tour. Like Garrigus, he only has one top-10 this year at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. He has struggled this year around the green, ranked 148th strokes gained around the green and 157th in putting. Luckily for the Canadian, the course was in favourable conditions to shoot a good score.
“I love the way the golf course is playing right now,” said Hearn. “If you hit a good shot in the fairway, you’ll be rewarded and have opportunities to make birdies.”
With not having full-exempt status on Tour this year, Hearn is eager to have a positive week in front of the home fans, trying to be the first Canadian-born player since Carl Keffer in the early 1900’s to win the country’s National Championship. He will need to continue to hit the ball in the fairway and have consistently solid putting performances if he is going to contend come Sunday.
Love playing in my home country 🇨🇦 at the @RBCCanadianOpen. Awesome feeling to compete in front of Canadian fans, friends & family and looking forward to draining some birdies on #16 by the @RBC Avion Sky Lounge for Avioners! #Avioning
— David Hearn (@HearnDavid) July 25, 2018
“I love playing in front of the home crowd. I still get a few jitters on the opening tee, hearing the crowd chant your name a little louder here in Canada,” exclaimed Hearn. “It was nice to get some birdies in front of the hometown crowd and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”