Hearn gave it his all

Cana­dian un­able to catch win­ner Jason Day at the Cana­dian Open

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY STEPHEN WHYNO OAKVILLE, ONT.

David Hearn couldn’t beat 61 years of pres­sure, and he couldn’t beat Jason Day at the RBC Cana­dian Open.

Try­ing to be the first Cana­dian to win the event since Pat Fletcher in 1954, Hearn shot an even-par round and couldn’t keep up with the Aussie on Sun­day. Day birdied the fi­nal three holes to win the Cana­dian Open at 17 un­der, as Hearn fin­ished two shots back in third place.

“It was one fo­cused mind-set the whole day to­day to do some­thing re­ally spe­cial and win the tour­na­ment,” Hearn said. “It hasn’t been done in a long time, and I felt like I had the abil­ity to do it to­day.

“I gave it my all. I didn’t quite have my best game.”

Hearn missed a hand­ful of birdie putts so close that had the masses of fans lin­ing Glen Abbey Golf Club let­ting out ex­as­per­ated groans. Had he made even one of them, it would have changed his en­tire out­look on the 18th hole and given him a good chance.

The Brant­ford, Ont., na­tive blamed not pick­ing up enough birdies for fall­ing short. Dur­ing a week­end in which his tee shots were er­rant, Hearn’s putting got him to the fi­nal round but couldn’t get him over the hump.

“There was so many putts that he hit that should’ve fell in,” said play­ing part­ner Bubba Wat­son, who fin­ished sec­ond at 16 un­der. “I don’t know how they stayed out.”

Day, who shot 4-un­der 68 Sun­day, won the tour­na­ment with clutch birdie putts on his fi­nal three holes. Mak­ing his fi­nal putt from 21 feet on the 18th hole forced Hearn and Wat­son to need ea­gles just to tie for a play­off.

Day yelled so loud be­fore the ball went in that he thought he threw his throat out.

Af­ter ty­ing for fourth at the Bri­tish Open, the Aussie was beam­ing af­ter his fourth PGA Tour vic­tory.

“This must feel like what Tiger did for so many times, and it feels good,” Day said. “I’m go­ing to try to do as much as I can and keep it the same and try and win.”

Part of his joy was the re­cep­tion he re­ceived from Cana­dian fans, de­spite not be­ing the home­coun­try favourite.

“I’ve never felt so much at home, and I’m not even from Canada,” Day said. “I’m look­ing for­ward to com­ing back and de­fend­ing the ti­tle here next year be­cause I know that when I get here next year it’s go­ing to be the same. It’s great to feel like a Cana­dian for a week.”

As Hearn left his post-tour­na­ment news con­fer­ence, he quipped that next year will be the 62nd for ques­tions about Fletcher, whose place in Cana­dian Open history is as the sym­bol of the na­tion’s home­grown drought.

Like Mike Weir in 2004, Hearn led go­ing into the fi­nal round, and like Weir he didn’t get it done. Rav­ing about the ova­tions he re­ceived all over the course, Hearn also con­ceded that the pres­sure was heavy on his shoul­ders.

“This one was pretty in­tense,” Hearn said. “I think ev­ery Cana­dian wants to see it so bad and we want to do it so bad that it does make it hard.”

Hearn birdied his first two holes be­fore fal­ter­ing with bo­geys on holes 3 and 7. Miss­ing putts by mere cen­time­tres on 8 and 9 didn’t help.

Af­ter another bo­gey on 12, Hearn got a stroke back with a birdie on 13 but couldn’t make up any more.

Mean­while, Day found some of his best golf of the week on the back nine. Wat­son birdied five of his fi­nal six holes to make a charge but couldn’t ea­gle 18.

CP PHOTO

Jason Day cel­e­brates sink­ing a birdie putt on the 18th dur­ing fi­nal round ac­tion at the Cana­dian Open in Oakville, Ont., on Sun­day.

Hearn

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