Inside Golf House RBC Canadian Open

RBC Canadian Open Tournament Director Bryan Crawford named Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League

Bryan Crawford
Bryan Crawford Photo: Kevin Sousa/Golf Canada

RBC Canadian Open Tournament Director Bryan Crawford will be leaving the organization as he has accepted the role of Commissioner with the Ontario Hockey League.

“Bryan has played an instrumental role in the growth of the RBC Canadian Open into one of Canada’s signature sport properties and we are extremely appreciative of his contributions over the past six years as Tournament Director,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Bryan is a talented and dynamic sports executive who has made a wonderful impact on our team and our National Men’s Open Championship during his time with Golf Canada. He is well positioned for continued success in leading the Ontario Hockey League.”  

Since joining Golf Canada in 2018, Crawford has been leading force in the continued elevation and commercial growth of the RBC Canadian Open, which has become a festival experience featuring world-class golf, music and food experience. Crawford has also worked with the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Advisory Council, serving most recently as its Vice-Chair. A former member of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club, Crawford has previously worked in leadership positions with Basketball Canada and Ontario University Athletics (OUA).

PGA TOUR RBC Canadian Open

Caledon, Ont., preparing to host next year’s RBC Canadian Open at TPC Toronto

TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley

Caledon, Ont., is preparing to welcome the world — through the RBC Canadian Open — to its rolling green hills.

TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley was announced as the host for the 2025 edition of the RBC Canadian Open, the men’s national golf championship and the only PGA Tour event north of the border, two weeks ago. 

Mayor Annette Grove said the success of this year’s event at Hamilton Golf and Country Club shows what it can do for a municipality’s international profile.

“It’s an opportunity to really put Caledon on the map globally,” said Grove on Tuesday. “I understand that over one million households across the United States, people from 140 different countries, viewed the tournament over the weekend in Hamilton, so this is an exciting opportunity for Caledon.”

The CPKC Women’s Open, Canada’s national women’s championship and the only LPGA Tour event in the country, travels across the country. It was at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club last year and will be at Calgary’s Earl Grey Golf Club at the end of July.

The men’s championship, however, stays in southern Ontario. St. George’s Golf and Country Club and Oakdale Golf and Country Club, both in Toronto, hosted in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Along with Hamilton and Toronto TPC, the four courses — and possibly a fifth to be announced at a later date — will comprise a rotation of locations in and around Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

Golf Canada’s chief operating officer Garrett Ball outlined the two tournaments’ economic impact at a news conference on Wednesday at the Canadian Open. He said the national sport organization had an $84-million economic impact on Canada as a whole, with $66 million of that in Ontario.

Although the final ticket sales data wasn’t yet released on Tuesday, Golf Canada estimated last week that 137,000 fans attended the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club between Wednesday and Sunday. The organization also estimated that more than 60,000 of them came from more than 40 kilometres away.

Neil Lumsden, Ontario’s minister of tourism, culture and sport, announced at the same news conference that the province would contribute $1 million to Golf Canada to support the event.

“The impact won’t just be for three or four days, it will be significant and it will be long lasting,” said Lumsden. “This touches all bases on what we are trying to do across Ontario. 

“So far, when we partner up (with Golf Canada), the expectations have been met and exceeded, and this will be no different at the RBC Canadian Open.”

Groves is excited to bring that kind of economic activity to Caledon, a regional municipality northwest of Toronto, that is stretched out over 700 square kilometres. That includes the unincorporated town of Bolton, the region’s largest community, as well as seven villages and 10 hamlets.

“I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for our local businesses right across the town,” said Groves, who pointed to the villages of Alton and Cheltenham as well as the hamlet of Terra Cotta as communities that will benefit. 

“Right across the town, businesses will certainly benefit from this economically.”

Hosting a RBC Canadian Open is not without its challenges. Staff and fans arriving account for thousands of extra cars on roads and in parking lots in the area. The township also has a limited number of accommodations for visitors.

“One of the things that we we’re working on, certainly, is shuttling people. We’ve got other areas in Caledon and Caledon is a very big place,” said Groves. “We are working with our communities right across Caledon and with our partners to make sure that we can shuttle people safely to the Osprey Valley golf course.”

Groves also said that her town would be working with the neighbouring municipalities of Brampton, Ont., and Orangeville, Ont., for infrastructure support like hotels and shuttle points.

She also pointed to Caledon’s previous success hosting the equestrian competitions at the 2015 Pan American Games, which were held at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, Ont.

PGA TOUR RBC Canadian Open

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre holds off Griffin, wins RBC Canadian Open

Robert MacIntyre
Robert MacIntyre (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

HAMILTON, Ontario — Robert MacIntyre, with father Dougie at his side as his caddie, held on to win the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title.

Four strokes ahead entering the final round at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, MacIntyre shot a 2-under 68 to beat playing partner Ben Griffin by a stroke. On the par-4 18th, the 27-year-old Scottish left-hander two-putted for par from 12 feet, holing out from 1 1/2 feet.

“Goose bumps. It’s incredible,” MacIntyre said. “It’s a dream of mine to play golf for a living. It’s been a dream of mine to win on the PGA Tour. … I just can’t believe I done it with my dad on the bag. The guy’s taught me the way I play golf.”

MacIntyre finished at 16-under 264 for the breakthrough victory in his 45th career PGA Tour start. The former McNeese State player was a member of Europe’s winning 2023 Ryder Cup team and has two European tour victories, the 2020 Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown and 2022 Italian Open.

“I was in a dog fight there,” MacIntyre said. “Obviously, Ben made it difficult coming in the stretch. He played well. It’s just incredible to do this with my dad on the bag and have my girlfriend here and I’m sure there’s a party going on back home in Oban.”

Griffin had a 65. He parred the 18th after birdieing the previous three holes.

“I fought hard,” Griffin said. “It felt like there was a lid on the cup for most of the day for me. I hit so many pretty good putts, I wouldn’t say like striped putts, but pretty good putts and just kept burning edges. A couple bad putts, but stayed patient.”

Victor Perez of France was third at 14 under after his second straight 64.

Two-time Canadian Open champion Rory McIlroy also shot 64 to tie for fourth with Tom Kim (64) at 13 under. McIlroy won in 2019 the last time the tournament was in Hamilton and again in 2022 at St. George’s in Toronto.

“Three really good rounds of golf, one not so good one,” McIlroy said. “Felt a little out of sorts on Friday. Did a good range session and sort of rectified it.”

Corey Conners was the top Canadian, shooting a 65 to reach 12 under.

“Definitely something to be proud of,” Conners said. “Yeah, obviously disappointing to not win the big trophy, but, yeah, it’s a cool honor.

Fellow Canadian Mackenzie Hughes, tied for second entering the day, was another shot back after a 70.

Last year at Oakdale in Toronto, Nick Taylor made a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth hole of a playoff against Tommy Fleetwood to become the first Canadian to win the event since 1954.

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Mackenzie Hughes ‘gutted’ after falling short at RBC Canadian Open

Mackenzie Hughes
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Mackenzie Hughes had the dream scenario of winning the RBC Canadian Open in his hometown within reach but then it all slipped away.

Hughes started the final round of the men’s national golf championship tied for second, four shots back of Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre. Hughes had three birdies on his first four holes and MacIntyre bogeyed No. 1 to lift the Canadian to the top of the leaderboard.

The final 10 holes were tough on Hughes, with three bogeys dropping him back down as MacIntyre found his rhythm and surged to his first PGA Tour victory.

“Pretty gutted,” said Hughes, pausing to collect himself. “Yeah, I wanted this one pretty badly.

“I don’t know. This one will sting for awhile. I obviously got off to the start I needed to get off to but I just didn’t.”

Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., ended a 69-year drought for Canadians at their national championship last year after a thrilling four-hole playoff at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country Club. It has been 110 years since Canadians won it in consecutive years, with Albert Murray (1913) and Karl Keffer (1914) the last to accomplish the feat.

Hughes spoke all week about trying to stay mentally present and shelve any pressure he might feel. Not just because he was aware of the importance of keeping the championship in Canada, but because this year’s event at Hamilton Golf and Country Club was essentially in his hometown.

Billed from Dundas, Ont., just eight kilometres away from the course in Ancaster, Ont., — both towns were amalgamated into the city of Hamilton in 2000 and 2001 respectively — Hughes allowed that the pressure of the final round did weigh on him.

“Today I felt sort of the enormity of a few of the putts I had and a few of the shots,” he said. “Kind of felt like I was running out of holes at times and that I needed to make something happen. 

“In this game you can’t really force things or feel like you need to start pressing, it’s kind of a hard game to be pressing.”

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., actually leapfrogged Hughes on the final leaderboard to win the Rivermead Cup, the trophy for lowest scoring Canadian at the men’s national championship. Conners shot 5-under 65 on the day to finish 12 under in sole possession of sixth.

“I guess it’s a nice consolation prize,” said Conners, who also won it in 2022. “Definitely something to be proud of but obviously disappointing to not win the big trophy. It’s a cool honour.”

There was a small silver lining for Hughes. His performance earned him a spot in the upcoming British Open at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland.

“It’s a great, I guess, bonus after not getting what you want, but kind of hard to think about that at the moment,” said Hughes. “It’s always great to get a major start under your belt and to play at Troon.

“I’ve played there before, so it’s a really fun golf course and looking forward to getting there in July.”

Taylor Pendrith (69) of Richmond Hill, Ont., tied for 21st at 7 under. He is projected to move three spots up to 30th on the FedEx Cup standings, making him the highest ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour.

“A good step in the right direction,” said Pendrith, who went to Kent State University with Hughes and Conners. “I felt like I did a lot of good things, I putted awesome today, saved me a lot.”

Ben Silverman (68) of Thornhill, Ont., tied for 35th, Adam Svensson (70) of Surrey, B.C., tied for 51st. Myles Creighton (70) of Digby, N.S., tied for 57th. Edmonton’s Will Bateman (74) tied for 62nd, and David Hearn (76) of Brantford, Ont., finished 69th in his 20th Canadian Open appearance.

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C.T. Pan uses four caddies, including fan, in fourth round of RBC Canadian Open

Paul Emerson
Paul Emerson (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Al Riddell was going to go have a quiet Sunday afternoon coffee with his family when his dad asked if he had heard that Mike (Fluff) Cowan, C.T. Pan’s caddie, had slipped during the fourth round of the RBC Canadian Open and that a fan had started carrying his bag for him.

Riddell put his own caddie gear back on and headed back to Hamilton Golf and Country Club to see if Pan, an old friend of his from the Mackenzie Tour, needed some help.

“I don’t live too far. I’m from here. I live 15 minutes away. So we just got changed, got ready,” said Riddell. “I just went over to see him and if he was OK, if he needed someone and I jumped in for the back nine.”

Riddell usually caddies for Paul Barjon, who missed the cut on Friday, and so he was available to be the last of Pan’s four caddies in the final round of the Canadian Open. Pan shot a respectable 1-under 69 in the rain.

Cowan, Pan’s regular caddie, went down in the middle of the third hole. Paul Emerson, a fan watching the tournament, stepped inside the ropes to carry Pan’s clubs through the fourth hole.

The Taiwanese golfer birdied No. 3 but bogeyed No. 4.

Mike Campbell, who works in caddie services at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, took over for holes five through nine. That pairing grabbed birdies on the eighth and ninth holes.

Riddell and Pan’s wife Michelle — who has caddied for him before — were waiting to spell Campbell at the 10th hole. Pan ultimately chose Riddell for the final nine holes of the round.

“I just brought my yardage book and if he needed info, I had info,” said Riddell. “And if he didn’t, he just wanted me to be quiet which most people do. I just was quiet. So it worked out.”

Pan eagled the par 4 No. 12 hole, but also bogeyed Nos. 11 and 16.

The 76-year-old Cowan was not seriously injured after the fall.

PGA TOUR RBC Canadian Open

MacIntyre pulls ahead of the pack at RBC Canadian Open; Canada’s Hughes tied for 2nd

Mackenzie Hughes
Mackenzie Hughes (Bernard Brault/ Golf Canada)

Mackenzie Hughes is having fun, he really is. He’s just trying to stay focused as he chases the RBC Canadian Open title.

Shouts of “atta boy Mac!,” “Let’s go Canada!” and “We got you, Mac!” rang across Hamilton Golf and Country Club on Saturday as Hughes shot a 3-under 67 to sit in a tie for second with New Zealand’s Ryan Fox and American Ben Griffin. All three are trying to catch Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, who shot a 4-under 66 to build a four-shot lead heading into the final round of Canada’s men’s golf championship.

“I never get cheered for like this really ever, because when I’m playing in the U.S., I’m pretty much a nobody,” said Hughes, who is from Dundas, Ont., just eight kilometres away from the course. “Being here at home you feel like they’re really pulling you across the line.

“I made a putt on 10 and it was just like, it was like chills. The putt went in, the crowd went nuts, and just some of those moments and things I felt I’ll remember for a long time.”

If Hughes can catch MacIntyre in the final round it will be the first time in 110 years that Canadians have won the men’s national golf championship in back-to-back years.

Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., ended a 69-year drought at the home open at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country Club in 2023.

As long a wait as it was for a Canadian to win the national title — Pat Fletcher was the last to do it in 1954 — it has been even longer since Canadians won it in consecutive years. Albert Murray (1913) and Karl Keffer (1914) were the last homegrown back-to-back champs.

Hughes has said all week that he’s trying to shelve any pressure to keep the title in Canada and just stay present when he’s on the course, even as the crowd is very vocally in his corner.

“For me, it’s about not trying too hard, not forcing things,” he said. “For the most part I would say I did a pretty good job. 

“There were a few things I would like to do over again, but, yeah, for the most part playing near the lead in your National Open I felt like I did a pretty good job handling everything and kept myself within distance for tomorrow.”

At the hockey-themed No. 13 hole, dubbed The Rink because of the hockey boards surrounding the tee box, Hughes did allow himself to get personal. For a second time at the tournament he pulled on the hockey jersey of family friend Bill Bath, who died April 23.

“I just feel like he was a huge part of my life and my journey to this point,” said Hughes of Bath, who caddied for him in 2019 when the Canadian Open was last in Hamilton. “We walked these hills the last time I was here and it’s just nice to kind of keep him out there with me, if you will. 

“I know we’re in the midst of a lot of chaos and competitiveness on that Rink hole and it’s actually a super hard shot with like a 6-iron or 5-iron, but there are bigger things than golf and he was a really close friend of mine and I’m thinking about him a lot.”

MacIntyre was 1 over on the day through 13 holes, allowing Hughes to briefly take the lead, but he reeled off three consecutive birdies and eagled No. 17 to pull way ahead of the field.

“I didn’t have it great at the start, but I feel like whenever I dropped a shot I bounced back with maybe two good shots into the green, and I would pick up a shot back,” said MacIntyre. “It never got away from me.

“A bit of luck, a bit of myself staying in the moment, staying calm. I got my reward with the putter in the end.”

Two-time Canadian Open champion Rory McIlroy remained an obvious fan favourite on Saturday. Roars could be heard every time he made a birdie putt as he fired a 5-under round to bounce back from a disappointing 2-over struggle on Friday. That lifted him into a four-way tie for 11th at 7-under overall.

“I feel like an honorary Canadian at this point and the support I get here is amazing,” said McIlroy, who won his first Canadian Open on the same course in 2019. “I keep saying it, but just a pleasure to play in an atmosphere like that.

“The crowds are so good, they’re so supportive, so enthusiastic, looking forward to one more day of it.”

Corey Conners (67) of Listowel, Ont., was in that group with McIlroy. Taylor Pendrith (66) of Richmond Hill, Ont., was a shot back in a five-way tie for 15th. 

Hughes, Conners, and Pendrith were all on Kent State University’s men’s golf team together.

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Canada’s Ben Silverman pushing for FedEx Cup points at RBC Canadian Open

Ben Silverman
Ben Silverman (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

When Ben Silverman was announced in the 13th tee box at the RBC Canadian Open, the fans at the feature Rink hole knew just what to do: rise and sing “O Canada,” in its entirety.

The ovation was the highlight of Silverman’s day, as the golfer from Thornhill, Ont., one of eight Canadians left in the men’s national championship, shot an even-par 70 on Saturday to sit in a tie for 49th at 1-under overall.

“I didn’t expect that,” said Silverman of the patriotic serenade. “I kind of was getting pumped up for it. It’s just a fun environment. It’s cool to be around.”

Silverman had five birdies in Saturday’s third round at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, but also had three bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 No. 3 hole to finish his day no better or worse than the previous day. He liked how he’s played through the first three rounds of the Canadian Open, however.

“No major adjustments,” said Silverman on how he’ll prepare for Sunday’s final round. “Just keep doing what I’m doing and hope that all balls stay in the fairway and then I can have a better chance to score.”

Silverman is ranked 112th on the FedEx Cup standings with 229 points this season, having made 10 cuts at 16 events with four top 25s. The Canadian Open is his third consecutive made cut and given his position on its leaderboard it’s projected that he’ll hold his position on the PGA Tour rankings.

“Making cuts just cements the fact that I’m playing well, which I know I am,” said Silverman after coming off the course. “But honestly, the way the FedEx Cup points work unless you’re finishing top 20 at full field events like this, you’re not building enough points to make playoffs. 

“So it’s bittersweet at the same time because T-40 essentially doesn’t mean much. You need to climb up to top 20, top 10 and contend for wins.”

Taylor Pendrith (66) of Richmond Hill, Ont., fired a 4-under 66 on Saturday afternoon to move 15 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for 15th. He did it all with a new caddie as Mitch Theoret, who usually carries his bag for him, was in a wedding party on Saturday. 

Instead, “Dynamite” Dean Emerson, who usually caddies for Patton Kizzire, stepped up.

“Dynamite Dean! He was great,” said Pendrith. “We had a fun time out there. Kept it pretty light. 

“He kept me hydrated, made sure I was eating my bars, and gave me some good numbers, so, yeah, he was awesome.”

Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Strome was also in contention to carry Pendrith’s clubs for him.

“We joked about it,” laughed Pendrith. “I didn’t know how serious he was, because he was supposed to be at the same wedding that Mitch is in. 

“He said he would do it if I needed him, but he’s realizes that it’s my job and I should probably take a professional caddie, so it’s all good.”

Mackenzie Hughes (67) of nearby Dundas, Ont., was the low Canadian after three rounds, sitting in a tie for second at 10 under, four shots back of leader Robert MacIntyre of Scotland.

Corey Conners (67) of Listowel, Ont., was tied for 11th at 7 under and Edmonton’s Wil Bareman (72) dropped 23 spots into a tie for 36th at 2 under. 

Adam Svensson (69) of Surrey, B.C., was tied with Silverman at 1 under. 

Myles Creighton (71) of Digby, N.S., was tied for 58th at even-par 70 and David Hearn (72) of Brantford, Ont., was tied for 64th at 2 over.

PGA TOUR RBC Canadian Open

Mackenzie Hughes in contention heading into the weekend at RBC Canadian Open

Mackenzie Hughes
Mackenzie Hughes Gary Yee (Golf Canada)

Mackenzie Hughes first competed in the Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club when he was a bright-eyed 21-year-old.  Today, 12 years later, the 33-year-old from Dundas, Ontario is a seasoned veteran and has two PGA TOUR victories to his name – and is contention to potentially add one more victory to his resume on Canadian soil.

While some things have changed, the thing that remains the same is the support Hughes receives when he returns home – and his eager desire to play his A game in front of the appreciative and energetic Canadian golf fans.

“I remember doing it at 21 years old and being pretty wide eyed and maybe caught off guard by how big the moment was,” said Hughes, who won the Canadian Men’s Amateur both in 2011 and 2012.

He speaks about watching Canada’s National Open as a young kid in 2003 and 2006 and wanting to get close to the players to get photos and autographs. Today, he’s the one being asked for photos and autographs.

Hughes says the Canadian players competing at the tournament have to multi task with other commitments besides golf during tournament week – but he personally wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I try to relish the fact that I’ll have some extra cheers out there and a lot of friends and family (in the crowd),” said Hughes during his pre-tournament presser.

This year, there are a record number of Canadians competing at the RBC Canadian Open. In total, there are 28 Canadians competing including defending champion, Nick Taylor, and two of Hughes’ former Kent State University teammates, Taylor Pendrith and Corey Conners.

“Amongst the Canadians we talk about this a little bit just in the fact that when we come back for this one week a year you kind of feel like a little bit of a star. You go next week and it feels different – even though it’s a big tournament next week as well,” said Hughes, a long-time member of the Canadian National Team.

“Coming here feels different. The support and the way the fans are behind us is really cool. It’s probably one of the most fun tournaments to kind of get in contention for just because of how much support we have,” he continued.

Hughes acknowledges the significance of Nick Taylor’s dramatic playoff victory last year and strives to achieve his own version of greatness.

“While we’re not answering the question of who will be the first Canadian to win since Pat Fletcher, but I still think that when we come here, we’re all pretty eager to do well close to home,” said Hughes.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well every single week but coming here I really enjoy playing well in front of the home crowd.”

Hughes has certainly brought his A game for the hometown crowd and enjoyed a stellar second round, firing a six under 64. 

“When I started the day obviously, I’m just trying to get myself in position for the weekend. Then I kind of got off to a start where I felt like I kind of had some good juices going early,” he said.

As a teammate of Hughes from the Canadian National Team program and during their collegiate days at Kent State University, Corey Conners knows what Hughes is capable of doing when he’s playing his best golf.

“It’s fun to watch. I’m a little bit jealous sometimes how well he rolls it,” said Conners with a smile.

“(Mackenzie) can get on a good roll, and the greens here are rolling beautifully.  No surprise he’s rolling a bunch of putts in,” he added about his good friend and former teammate.

At seven under par, Hughes has positioned himself as the top Canadian in the field heading into the weekend.

“I had a few minutes to process the round and kind of the whole day and while the finish was disappointing, I look at the whole body of work. Starting today if you told me I was going to shoot 64, I would have taken it,” noted the Dundas, Ont., native during his post round presser. “It gets me into contention for the weekend and that’s all I can ask for.”

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David Hearn makes cut at RBC Canadian Open after long PGA Tour layoff

David Hearn
David Hearn (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

It’s been six long months since David Hearn played in a PGA Tour event. It’s been even longer since the 44-year-old Canadian made a cut.

But he will tee it up in the third round of the RBC Canadian Open on Saturday.

Hearn was the low Canadian on Thursday after a 3-under 67 round but then he laboured to a 3-over score on Friday to make the even-par cut and return to the third round of a PGA Tour event. 

“It certainly wasn’t what I was looking for but with as much time as I’ve had off from tournament golf, I certainly was fighting through a few things today,” said Hearn before he knew for sure he’d make the cut. “I certainly hope that I’m around for two more days. I’d like two more cracks at it.”

Hearn last played in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in November 2023 but missed the cut. He didn’t see the weekend at the five other PGA Tour events he played in that season, either.

“A little bit scrappy today, even yesterday. But I feel like it’s closer than it has been,” said Hearn, who is considered a veteran member of the PGA Tour having made more than 150 cuts over the course of his career. “There’s no reason I can’t go and compete and try to get on some of these events. 

“There’s been a lot of changes to the PGA Tour in the last year or two and it’s affected guys in my category a lot. Hopefully I can get a few more starts and try to do something.”

Hearn was granted an exemption to play in the Canadian Open, the national men’s golf championship, on May 22. It’s his 20th appearance in the tournament and he has now made the cut in half of those.

“It means so much for me to play in our national championship, to do it here at Hamilton so close to home,” said Hearn. “I had my wife and my kids follow me around, my parents, all my family. 

“It was a pretty special week and I get two more days to have a chance to make a few more birdies.”

Mackenzie Hughes (64) of Dundas, Ont., is the low Canadian after two rounds, sitting in a tie for fourth at 7 under. Corey Conners (67) of Listowel, Ont., and Edmonton’s Wil Bateman (66) were tied for 13th at 4 under.

“I knew I was right there,” said Hughes. “I did a great job for most of the day. The finish wasn’t what I planned for, but I’m happy with the result.”

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., complicated his life by scoring back-to-back 69s to enter a tie for 30th at 2 under. 

His caddie Mitchell Theoret is in a wedding party this weekend and won’t be able to carry his bag on Saturday. Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Strome was supposed to sub in for Theoret but he’s attending the same wedding and with Pendrith’s later tee time in the third round he’s also not available, leaving Theoret to find a second substitute.

“I didn’t really play great today, I hit a couple squirrelly shots, but short game was good and I had a couple of wedges to a couple feet late in the round so that it’s always helpful,” said Pendrith before heading to the driving range. “I’ve got to straighten it out a little bit for the weekend but I’m excited.”

Ben Silverman (71) of Thornhill, Ont., and Myles Creighton (68) of Digby, N.S., were tied for 42nd at 1 under. Adam Svensson (68) of Surrey, B.C., finished Friday tied with Hearn at even par and made the cut.

A modern-era record of 28 Canadians were in the field at this week’s home open, with 20 missing the cut.

“It’s a testament to Golf Canada and what they’ve done to help grow the game,” said Pendrith. “All the hard work that they’ve put into the amateur programs, young pro squad, and there’s some other guys who didn’t go through that program who are playing great.”

Reigning Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., was the biggest name to miss the cut. He ended a 69-year drought for Canadians at the national championship last year at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country Club.

Canadian golf Hall of Famer Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., Hamilton’s Michael Blair, Jared du Toit of Kimberley, B.C., Toronto’s Richard T. Lee, Cam Kellett of London, Ont., Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, Matthew Anderson of Mississauga, Ont., Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., Etienne Papineau of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., Kevin Stinson of Mission, B.C., Vancouver’s Jake Lane, Max Sear of Stouffville, Ont., Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald and Marc-Olivier Plasse of Mercier, Que., all missed the cut.

Amateurs Ashton McCulloch of Kingston, Ont., Justin Matthews of Little Britain, Ont., and Jakob Chicoyne of Calgary also had their tournaments end on Friday.

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Fox, MacIntyre second-round leaders at RBC Canadian Open; Hughes low Canadian

Mackenzie Hughes
Mackenzie Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

It’s falling on the shoulders of Mackenzie Hughes and seven other Canadians to keep the RBC Canadian Open title north of the border.

Reigning champion Nick Taylor missed the cut on Friday, leaving Hughes as Canada’s best chance to chase down co-leaders Ryan Fox of New Zealand and Robert MacIntyre of Scotland. Hughes said it was important to not let the pressure of winning force him to try too hard on Saturday and Sunday.

“I need to be even more aware of that come the weekend, because as you get closer to the end and as you see the finish line, it gets harder and harder to control those thoughts and to stay in the present,” said Hughes, who grew up in Dundas, Ont., less than 10 kilometres from Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

“I’ll have a big focus on just going out there and having some fun and enjoying the whole moment.”

MacIntyre had a 4-under 66 morning to move to the top of the leaderboard but then Fox fired a 6-under 64 in the afternoon to tie the Scot at 10-under overall and share a two-shot lead over Joel Dahmen (65) of the United States.

Taylor, from Abbotsford, B.C., struggled through a 1-over 71 round to miss the even-par cut by three shots. He ended a 69-year drought for Canadians at their national men’s golf championship last year after a thrilling four-hole playoff victory over England’s Tommy Fleetwood at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country Club.

Although Hughes had five birdies and two eagles on Friday, he had three bogeys including two back-to-back to close out his round for a 6-under 64 day.

“I’ve had a few minutes to process the round and the whole day, and while the finish was disappointing, I look at the whole body of work,” said Hughes, who moved 28 spots up the leaderboard to sit in a tie for fourth at 7 under. “Starting today if you told me I was going to shoot 64, I would have taken it.

“So it gets me into contention for the weekend and that’s all I can ask for.”

Fox said he was able to reel in MacIntyre, who at one point had a three-stroke lead, because “almost everything” was clicking for him on Friday.

“I drove it great, I hit may irons really good, and had a few more putts drop today,” said Fox. “It could have been really silly, but I still had a lot of good putts.

“If you would have given me 64 to start the day I certainly would have taken it.”

MacIntyre did not have a bogey through 36 holes, with his father Dougie serving as his caddie for the first time on the PGA Tour.

“We’re just kind of learning on the run — well, he is, he’s learning on the run and I’m kind of trying to stay as calm as I can,” said MacIntyre. “When I do miss a shot, I’m not trying to get too annoyed.

“We’re just trying to have as much fun as we can.”

Hughes was tied with first-round leader David Skinns (71) of England and American Andrew Novak (67).

A modern-era record 28 Canadians were in the field at the home open, with eight making the cut. Corey Conners (67) of Listowel, Ont., and Edmonton’s Wil Bateman (66) were tied for 13th at 4 under, the closest to Hughes.

“A little bit of a sloppy finish, but game plan’s not really going to change over the weekend,” said Conners. “Just try and get the ball in the fairway.

“I’m hitting my irons well, so if I’m in the fairway I feel like I’ll be able to get a lot of birdie looks, and rolling the putter pretty nicely.”

Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace will be performing on the grounds at Hamilton Golf and Country Club after the second round is complete.