Canadian golfer David Hearn has mixed emotions about falling just shy of his first win on the PGA Tour over the weekend and missing out on a spot in the British Open. The best finish of his career has Hearn's confidence sky-high.
The 34-year-old native of Brantford, Ont., turned heads at the John Deere Classic on Sunday when he was in the hunt for his first victory at a PGA Tour event right until the final seconds. He and Zach Johnson lost out on the fifth hole of a playoff to 19-year-old Jordan Spieth. Although disappointed, Hearn says he has the game to win soon, and he can't wait for his next shot, which comes next week – fittingly – at the RBC Canadian Open.
Hearn missed a makeable putt on the fourth playoff hole at the John Deere that would have won it for him and guaranteed him a spot in this week's British Open. Still, the result skyrocketed the Canadian from 99th to 63rd in Money Leaders on the PGA Tour and from 82nd to 46th in FedEx Cup points. With more than $1-million (U.S.) in earnings this season, he has already bested his 2012 season on Tour. He called it a big step for his career.
"I've been playing really good golf for the past few months and it was nice to finally see myself play my way into contention at a tournament," Hearn said on a conference call Tuesday. "I feel like my game has really been ready for that."
It was his second top-10 finish this season and his seventh on the year in the Top 25, which included a finish of 21st at the U.S Open.
"I'd like to be in Europe playing in the British Open, but it will be nice to have a week off," said Hearn, who has played 11 of the past 13 weeks on Tour. "I can really look forward to the RBC Canadian Open, get a little rest and really prepare for that."
Hearn's runner-up showing in the John Deere was the best finish for a Canadian at a PGA Tour event since 2009, when Stephen Ames of Calgary won the Children's Miracle event.
Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., has had several top-5 finishes, including a third-place result last month at the Travelers Championship. DeLaet is the top-ranked Canadian in the FedEx Cup points standings and qualified to play in this week's British Open, his first major.
It will be Hearn's 11th start in the Canadian Open and while he missed the cut in his first four appearances, he will be one of the top Canadian names competing this year.
"We've got two Canadians who are both on the cusp of winning on the PGA Tour," said Bill Paul, RBC Canadian Open tournament director. "It's not easy, but to see what we saw on the weekend shows us all that we have a lot to look forward to down the road and maybe in a week's time here at Glen Abbey we can see one of those Canadians on top."
Hearn, who attended the University of Wyoming, turned pro in 2001 and played on the Canadian and Asian Tours as well as the Web.com Tour. He says the John Deere result got an outpouring of support from many inside and outside the golf world – calls, e-mails, comments on social media. He was pleasantly surprised by the reaction.
"People realize it's not an easy thing to do to win on the PGA Tour, but I feel like it will happen for me soon." Hearn said. "There is a lot of talent in Canada right now, and Graham and I are examples of the younger generation starting to come into our prime."