'Consolation prize' for Canada's DeLaet
Graham DeLaet wore a special all-red outfit to honour Canada during Sunday's final round. (DAVE THOMAS/QMI Agency)
Graham DeLaet's Canadian Open hopes dissolved in a wave of inconsistency this week but the Weyburn, Sask., native didn't go home empty-handed.
DeLaet gets his name engraved on the Rivermead Trophy as low Canadian in the field -- he finished at 2-under-par 278 -- but he is acutely aware of his finishing position, a tie for 56th.
"I guess it's a nice consolation prize," said DeLaet, who wore a special all-red outfit to honour Canada Sunday during his final round of even-par 70.
"We come in here with higher expectations than just trying to beat the Canadians. We want to beat everyone in the field. But there are a lot of great Canadians in the field and I am honoured to be the low Canadian. It's my first time.
"Hopefully, next year it's low Canadian and champion for whoever it is, whether myself or any other Canadian.
"It was a great week, a lot of support. I got a lot of comments on my outfit today. It was just cool playing in front of the home fans but just a little disappointing that I couldn't get anything going this week."
With a couple of top-10 finishes on his card this season, DeLaet came to Hamilton in a positive frame of mind but did not take advantage of the scoring conditions.
"I couldn't find any rhythm. Anytime I made a birdie, it semed I followed with a bogey," he said. "I didn't have it all week. Pretty much every aspect of my game was just so-so. That's kind of how my finish is."
Currently 108th on the FedEx Cup points list, DeLaet is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle over the next month or so.
"My next event is Greensboro, the week before the playoffs, and then I should be good for the first week of playoffs at least," he said. "I'll be making a push to the second and third rounds and even the Tour Championship. There are a lot of FedEx points available in the playoffs so if you get on a little run you can really make a move. That's kind of the plan."
Five Canadians made the cut out of 23 in the starting field.
David Hearn finished at even-par 280, amateur Albin Choi at 281, Matt McGuillan and Matt Hill, bith at three-over-par 283.
HOST COURSE TAKES BEATING
Hamilton Golf and Country Club's magnificent championship course took an absolute thrashing this weekend but the low scores didn't put a dent in its lustre as far as Golf Canada is concerned.
Golf Canada executive director Scott Simmons believes the course was simply a victim of weather that turned a firm, fast track into a dartboard.
"I don't think it tarnishes the golf course in any way," said Simmons. "These players are so good that if the fairways are soft and the greens are soft and there isn't wind to speak of, I don't care what the course is unless you're playing 8,000 yards, they're going to make a lot of birdies.
"This is a great test of golf but you just can't control Mother Nature."
More to the point for Golf Canada, this venue has become a popular destination for both fans and players -- a traditional, classic course design with a 27-hole footprint that can easily handle the infrastructure needed to put on a first-class golf tournament.
"We just seem to get more advance sales, plus walkups, here than we do at any other club," said Simmons. "The fact that it has more than 18 holes is critical to the logistics. When you have another nine holes, we can provide a superior fan experience, with hospitality and television facilities. The amphitheatre at the 18th hole is an absolute gem. This course has it all."
This week, several soaking rains left the course soft and vulnerable. Combine that with record-setting heat previously this summer that prevented the rough from filling in uniformly and the players had a field day.
No fewer than 33 rounds of 65 or better were recorded on the 6,966-yard layout over the four days.
While those low scores may get a few members' noses out of joint, the players and the tournament organizers understand the root causes. Included in those root causes are two days of lift, clean and place, which allows these pros to give themselves perfect lies in the fairway.
"I think if you asked Golf Canada, they would have liked to have seen a higher winning score, obviously, but it's Mother Nature," said low Canadian Graham DeLaet. "If this place had been playing firm and fast, it would have been an awesome championship. I mean, it still is, but we all know it's rain and there's nothing anyone can do about it."
"At the end of the day, it's all about the best player winning, it's about entertainment," said Simmons. "Of course, in a national open you don't want to see a birdie-fest, but at the same time I think the course has held its own."
When asked how the Hamilton members should feel about the week, runnerup Robert Garrigus was sympathetic.
"I'd embrace it," he said. "I'd say these guys are the best in the world. If the weather wasn't the way it was, this would have been probably 12 to 13 under, maybe less. This was a great tournament and I appreciate the members having us out here. This is a great place."