Brad Fritsch just missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole of Sunday’s fourth round of the RBC Canadian Open, which would have given him a share of the course record at Royal Montreal. But he would not have been in a position to attempt that putt – or play bogey-free golf this weekend – were it not for a 30-footer on No. 18 at the end of Friday’s second round that enabled the Ottawa golfer to make the cut on the number.
“I felt lucky maybe playing with house money today,” said Fritsch. “I made that 30 footer on Friday, and even then we didn’t know if it would be good enough. Fortunately the wind kept blowing and the cut moved to par.”
Despite a birdie on the second hole Sunday, it was starting to look like another uninspiring round until Fritsch arrived at the 11th hole. From the rough, he put his approach to within six feet for birdie and then on the next hole, the par-five 12th, he buried a 31-footer for eagle, which jump started his climb up the leaderboard.
“I felt kind of jilted on the front nine,” said Fritsch. “And then it went off. Made a bunch of putts, including an eagle on 12, and that’s when I thought, ‘wow, we could have something really good here.’”
Something good, indeed, as he played his last 39 holes bogey-free to finish in a tie for ninth, only his second top-10 result of the season and the first since January.
It took 12 years, 10 months and 21 days, but Dicky Pride finally got what he came for at Royal Montreal.
After watching Graham DeLaet and Jim Furyk both tie the course record with seven-under 63s in the second round on Friday, Pride went out on Sunday and posted a bogey-free round of his own for a share of the mark as well.
You see, the 44-year-old originally set the course record of 64 the last time the Canadian Open was held here, Sept. 7, 2001. That honour lasted less than a few hours as both Scott Verplank and Canadian David Morland IV managed to go one better in the same round.
After making a 12-footer for birdie on No. 15, Pride needed at least a birdie on two of the last three holes just to equal the record. On No. 16, he missed a 27-footer. On 17, he dropped a 10-foot birdie putt to put him within one and he sealed it with a six-footer on No. 18
“I had to get my course record back,” said Pride. “So to tie them and go back and get it, I’m pretty happy about that.
“And I was thinking about it on 18 too, which is an idiotic thing to do, but I made the putt anyway.”
Canadian Olympic gold medalists visiting the RBC Canadian Open this week were all for having golfers playing for gold at the Summer Games.
Golf will become an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janiero, and top players like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have said they’d love to be there.
But detractors question whether it should be considered a game rather than a sport, as some top golfers, although not many any more, are not the fittest-looking athletes.
“Golf is definitely a sport, just like tennis deserves to be in the Olympics,” said curler Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. “I can’t wait till there’s golf at the Olympics.
“I will definitely tune in to that, mainly because I’m a huge golf fan. If the elite golfers are playing, I am certainly a fan and would love to watch.”
Curling faced some of the same questions when it was added to the Winter Games at Nagano, Japan in 1998.
“Golf’s more difficult than people think,” said Jacobs. “It takes a lot of focus and patience, maybe very similar to curling.”
Hockey player P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens also gave the thumbs up to Olympic golf.
“I started watching Tiger Woods and what he did for the sport,” said Subban. “Watching him take a sport that was a gentleman’s game, and it still is, but to add that element of excitement to it.
“I think golf’s considered one of the best sports and a lot of people enjoy watching it, so if it is a part of the Olympics, I know I’ll watch.”
Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report
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