ANCASTER, Ont. – A win and a fat cheque may have sweetened Scott Piercy’s view of the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, but some fans weren’t buying it.
“Booooring,” came the jeers as the newly minted 2012 RBC Canadian Open champion marched onto the 18th green to receive his trophy after finishing with a three-under 67 on Sunday to capture the title by one shot over William McGirt (69) and Robert Garrigus (70).
Officials quickly shushed the rogue fans, who were merely quoting Piercy himself. He told reporters earlier in the tournament that the classically designed course created “boring golf.”
If Piercy wasn’t the fan favourite, well, it wasn’t really a fair fight. The tournament had come down to a three-way race between himself and two affable guys from the American south who just may be two of the most likable on the PGA Tour.
There was the second-place finisher, Garrigus, who had been winning hearts all week with his penchant for thanking volunteers and calling fellow competitors “dude.” On Sunday, while McGirt was finishing his putt on the first hole, Garrigus snuck off behind the second tee to pet a bulldog named Millie.
Then there was soft-spoken McGirt, a stocky 33-year-old who happens to enjoy playing while chewing a wad of tobacco. A victory at Hamilton would have been his first PGA Tour win since joining the circuit in 2011.
“Boring” is the last word he’d use to describe the course, McGirt said. “You have to think a lot out here and you’ve got to hit a lot of good shots.”
What made it more fun was getting to share the day with his buddy, Garrigus, who kept him laughing throughout the round, even as each faltered in the final stretch.
Garrigus, in particular, couldn’t catch a break all day. After a bogey-free round on Saturday gave him a one-shot lead, he made 13 straight pars on Sunday before finally making a birdie. He threw up his hands and gave an exaggerated fist pump, as if he could hardly believe it himself.
“I should’ve won this golf tournament by seven shots, and everybody knows that – if I could’ve just made a putt today,” he said after giving Piercy a congratulatory hug.
“It was unfortunate that I didn’t win, but what the hell.”
A three-putt bogey at the 16th hole dropped Garrigus from the lead, while McGirt missed a chance to force a playoff on the final hole.
Only five of the 23 Canadians who started the tournament made the cut. Graham DeLaet, the top Canadian finisher with a tie for 56th, shrugged off the honour as a “consolation prize.”
“We come in here with expectations other than just trying to beat the Canadians,” said the 30-year-old native of Weyburn, Sask.
Toronto’s Albin Choi, 20, who heads back to North Carolina State University in the fall, was the only amateur to make the cut. His buddies cheered him on and made sure none of his success went to his head. “Sign my water bottle,” one joked.
This was the second PGA Tour win for Piercy. It came with a cheque of $930,000 (all currency U.S.) and other perks, including a berth in next year’s Masters. McGirt and Garrigus, who tied for second, each earned $457,000.
As for the “boring” comment, Piercy said he hoped nobody took it the wrong way.
“I usually hit the ball pretty far with the driver,” he said. “I like to hit the driver a lot, and this golf course I felt took the driver out of my hands. I did say, however, that at the end of the week if the score is good, it is exciting. So I’m pretty excited.”
With a report from Beverley Smith, Courtesy of Golf Canada.ca