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Other Key Tournaments:
1943 - Ontario Men's Amateur
1944 - Ontario Men's Amateur
1945 - Ontario Men's Amateur
1948 - Ontario Women's Amateur
1956 - Ontario Women's Amateur
1959 - Canadian Women's Amateur
1973 - Ontario Men's Amateur
1975 - Peter Jackson Classic
1978 - Peter Jackson Classic
1980 - Peter Jackson Classic
1982 - Peter Jackson Classic
1984 - du Maurier Classic
1997 - du Maurier Champions
1999 - Toronto Star Men's Amateur
2004 - Toronto Star Women's Amateur
2008 - Toronto Star Men's Amateur
2009 - Toronto Star Men's Amateur
The 101st Canadian Open
Carl Pettersson wins 2010 RBC Canadian Open
For the fifth time in Club history, St. George’s Golf and Country Club hosted the PGA Tour. The 2010 RBC Canadian Open was played the week of July 19-25 with a purse of $5.8 million US and more than 91,000 spectators attending. The week started with nearly 10,000 people watching the 2nd Annual Mike Weir Charity Classic that raised $350,000. It concluded with 19,300 spectators on Sunday to watch Carl Pettersson’s exciting come from behind victory to win $918,000.
Pettersson followed his Saturday 10-under 60 with a 67 to win the 2010 RBC Canadian Open. It didn’t look good early on as he was two over through seven holes and six behind Wilson. With three PGA Tour victories under his belt, Pettersson started to reel the leader in. Birdies at the eighth, ninth, 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes put him in the lead. Wilson bogeyed the 12th and 14th and failed to birdie the 15th to drop out of the picture. Pettersson’s three-putt on No. 18 left him at 14-under par – good for a one-stroke victory and a winner’s cheque for $918,000US. For the week he was 10-under on the par 5s, 4-under on the par 3s and even on the par 4s. On the par-5 11th hole alone, he was 5-under par, with three birdies and an eagle (third round). Glen Day recorded his fifth career PGA Tour hole-in-one Sunday after sinking his 3-iron shot from 211 yards on the par-3 eighth hole. Three Canadians made it through the final round led by Hadwin at T37, Mills T48 and Stephen Ames settled for T59. The toughest holes of the day were Nos. 18, 17, 2 & 16 respectively. No. 9 was the easiest followed by Nos. 11 and 10 respectively. The scoring average was over par for the first time at 70.096 with just six eagles and 226 birdies. For the week No. 18 played the toughest with a scoring average of 4.284, while the easiest hole was the par-5, No. 11 at 4.435.
The 59th Canadian Open
For the 1968 Open, Canadian golf course architect Robbie Robinson had added 350 yards to the course since the Club last hosted the Open in 1960. He reconstructed four greens, added eight tees and a fairways watering system had been installed. Four important holes, the second, fourth, ninth and 15th were lengthened, while new greens were constructed on the third, fourth, ninth and 15th at a cost of $250,000.
For the first time in Toronto, the final round was played on a Sunday. 148 pros and three amateurs from 10 countries (including 32 Canadians) teed it up with a purse of $125,000 on the line – $25,000 going to the winner.
The wind made a dragon out of St. George’s during the opening round. Bruce Devlin of Australia, with 10 one-putt greens and Ken Still of Tacoma, Wash., shot opening rounds of 3-under par 67 for a two shot lead over a group of six other par-breakers including; defending champion Billy Casper, Orville Moody, Lou Graham, Tom Weiskopf, Dick Sikes and Canadian Moe Norman. George Knudson, a local favourite who won back to back PGA tournaments earlier in the season at the Phoenix and Tucson Opens, fired a disappointing opening round 75.
Devlin, who said an opening round 67 embarrassed him, added a 68 in round two for a three-stroke lead at the midway mark of the 59th Canadian Open. A gentle drizzle calmed the winds and slowed the greens. Twenty-one golfers broke par on day two compared to eight during the opening round. Those missing the cut at 147 or better included; Arnold Palmer, Doug Ford (twice Canadian Open champion), Peter Thomson (five times British Open Champion), Ken Venturi and Art Wall, who won the Canadian Open at St. George’s in 1960.
Trailing by three strokes were Still and Bob Charles of New Zealand. Jack Nicklaus shot a 66 in round 2 that left him at 141 (75-66). Using a 9-iron Knudson had a hole in one on the 146-yard sixth hole on the way to posting a 69 (75-69) to 144 and Canadian Wayne Vollmer from Vancouver shot the same scores (75-69).
Knudson, having his best year on the PGA Tour, equaled Balding’s course record of 64 in round three and was tied for the lead with Charles going into the final round. One stroke behind the leaders at 209 was; defending champion Casper, Tom Aaron, Nicklaus, Charles Sifford, R.H. Sikes and Weiskopf. At 210 were Bruce Devlin, Graham, Still and Vollmer. Vollmer, the 1963 Canadian Junior Champion from Vancouver and the seventh and final alternate to make it into the Open, shot an impressive 66.
The stage was set for a great finish. The second to last group for the final round featured Casper, Nicklaus and Charles. The last group off the tee included; Knudson, Aaron and Sifford. Charles finished with a championship flourish and a wonderful 66 in the final round (70-68-70-66-274) to defeat Nicklaus by two strokes and win $25,000. The left-handed New Zealander went head-to-head against Nicklaus (73-68-68-67-276). Nicklaus’ towering drives were continually 30 to 50 yards beyond Charles’. Charles birdied No. 18 with a dramatic 7-iron second shot to within six inches of the pin to secure the two-shot win with a 72-hole total of 6-under par 274. It was the second straight week in a row that Nicklaus finished second. He came to Canada after losing the U.S. Open by a stroke to Lee Trevino and was winless on the season to that point; Nicklaus earned $15,000 while Bruce Crampton from Australia finished alone in third (71-68-72-66-277) for $9,375.
Knudson “The Great Canadian Hope” who entered the round tied for the lead fell nine strokes of his record-tying 64 in the third round to card a final round 73 and a 72-hole total of 281. He finished T10 in a six way group that included Balding as they each picked up cheques for $2,687.50
The 51st Canadian Open
The Canadian Open was played the same week as the British Open in 1960 so the tournament was missing a few key figures such as Gene Sarazen, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and a few others chose Britain over the colony. That said 150 players teed it up at St. George’s with a $25,000 purse on the line - including $3,500 for the winner.
The tourney drew a Canadian Open attendance record of 35,000 people. Bob Keller of Elgin Air Base in Florida led the first qualifying round in the Open’s history with a 68.
In the opening round Al Balding smoked around St. George’s with a 64 to smash the course record set by Jim Ferrier in 1949. The lanky kid, who grew up a few blocks from the course, was two shots ahead of another skinny fellow, Don January, Montreal’s 27-year-old star Alan Johnston, Don Whitt, Paul Harney and Art Wall Jr. It was prophetic. Big Al had led at Montreal the year before on opening day, then stumbled home 30th to win $150. This time he shot a sunset strip on the third day, wound up tied for 22nd, low Canadian with Johnston at 284 and won $231.
Wall shot a rough-tinged 67 at St. George’s for a one-shot lead at the halfway mark of the tourney with a 36-hole total of 133 (66-67) – 11-under par. The biggest following of the day was for Balding’s group that included Sam Snead. Balding climbed to 70 and surrendered a one-stroke lead to Wall.
In round three on Friday, Balding shot a 77 and surrendered the tournament to Wall, who demolished St. George’s with spectacular rounds of 66-67-67-69-269 – 19 under par, 288.
Saturday’s final round featured a flash flood that delayed play. Balding and playing partners Don Fairfield and Gene Coghill stopped in a neighbours’ garage during the delay, with Balding sitting in a Cadillac with his wife. The leader, Wall, and his two playing partners, the congenial Tommy Bolt and the sweet-swinging Gene Littler, invaded a cocktail party in one of the homes adjoining the course. Wall played the final 16 holes after nearly a three-hour delay. The runners up, six strokes back, were Americans Jay Herbert and Bob Goalby at 275.
A record field of 189 competitors started in the 1949 Seagram Canadian Open. The first threesome teed off at 8 a.m. and groups went off every seven minutes for the next eight hours and seven minutes! The purse totaled $9,200 with $2,000 for the winner.
Toronto was dry in 1949. The course still had no watering system and played much shorter than its 6,645 yards as the field struggled through almost unbearable heat and humidity. The Township of Etobicoke even curtailed the use of water in the evening hours, so when the competitors went to take their showers in the clubhouse, only air came out!
Making his fourth Canadian Open appearance, Dutch Harrison, 39, opened with a 6-under par 66 the first day to take the lead. The Little Rock, Arkansas native then added scores of 67 and 71 before a final round 67. Harrison finished 17-under par and four strokes better than Jim Ferrier - the Australian giant who set the course record on the final day with a 65. Bill Kerr from Beaconsfield, PQ was the low Canadian (70-69-71-67) and winner of the Rivermead Cup. He tied for third with Americans Freddie Hawkins and Willie Turnesa at 277 to earn $816.66.
Despite a disastrous start to the second round with three bogeys over the first six holes Harrison, chalked up a 31 on the back nine to card a impressive 5-under 67 for a two-day total of 133 and a four-shot lead over American Clayton Haefner and Ferrier. Fourth place was shared by Metz and Hawkins. Hopes for a Canadian winner after a 34-year lapse rested mainly with Kerr who added a 3-under par 69 to his opening round 70 for a 139 total and in a three-way tie for sixth with Ghezzi and Turnesa. Low amateur honours at the halfway mark were shared by Canadians Emerson Creed of Barrie and George Eluck of Windsor at 148. The field was cut to 106 players for the third round.
Harrison shot a one under par 71 in the third round, but still managed to hang on to a three-stroke lead at the end of play. Metz registered his third consecutive 69 to sit alone in second at 207, followed by Hawkins and Barber at 208. Kerr carded a 71 to retain his lead among the Canadians and remain T5 with Ferrier and Turnesa. There were only 10 scores in the 60s on day three and only 26 at par or better. Cunningham shot a 74 for a total of 223, good enough to qualify for the final round cut of the top 60 players and ties.
With up to 10,000 spectators on hand for Saturday’s final round, Harrison won the Canadian Open by monotonously chipping strokes off par. He finished four strokes ahead of Ferrier who shot a course record 65 in his final round for second place prize money of $1,400. Kerr finished as the top Canadian in a three-way tie for third at 277 with Hawkins and Turnesa, while Gray finished T17 at 285. The low amateur for the tournament was Nick Weslock of Essex G&CC at 1-under par 287. Harrison made the Ryder Cup team later that year.
The 26th Canadian Open
The Royal York Golf Club (now St. George’s G&CC) hosted its first Canadian Open Championship in 1933, after first opening for play late in the summer of 1929. The course, still relatively unknown as it suffered from anonymity, was still well outside the city of Toronto in the Township of Etobicoke. In fact, the Club was so far out of the city at that point that special buses were pressed into service to take the gallery to the course from the Royal York Hotel, where many players and guests stayed.
There weren’t many more spectators than players. Golf was still the property of the rich. The publicity was handled on the social pages of local papers. However, the Globe and Mail reported that up to 5,000 spectators watched the final two rounds, 36 holes, played on the Saturday - tournament golf wasn’t played on Sunday at that time.
The tournament didn’t have a sponsor and with a purse of $1,465 – $500 for the winner – four leading players on the PGA Tour didn’t show up. That said the 121 player field included Gene Sarazen, who won the PGA Championship the week before; Leo Diegel, a four-time Canadian Open winner; defending champion Lighthorse Harry Cooper and Scarboro G&CC amateur Don Carrick.
Joe Kirkwood, who had made more money as a trick-shot performer than as a touring pro, started the championship with an opening round 71. He trailed Harry Cooper, the defending champion from Chicago by one stroke. When the scores had been totalled for the second day’s play, Kirkwood, an Australian, trailed young Bobby Alston from Ottawa, Rivermead’s 24-year-old professional, by a shot after posting a 72. After the third round on Saturday morning, for which he returned a card of 70, Kirkwood led by four strokes as Alston posted a 75 holding on to second spot.
Playing with Alston in the fourth round on Saturday afternoon, Kirkwood posted his best round of the tournament, a 69, for a clear cut eight stroke victory at 6-under par (71-72-70-69-282). Cooper (70-74-75-71-290) and Lex Robson from Islington G&CC in Toronto (74-73-72-71-290) finished T2. Ralph Guldahl of St. Louis, runner-up of the U.S. Open championship, finished in fourth spot, while Leo Diegel, a four-time Canadian Open champion, John Farrell of New York City, and Al Houghton of Bethesda Md., tied for fourth. Gene Sarazen settled for eighth. Alston shot another 75 to finish T9 with the great Horton Smith from Chicago. London’s Sandy Somerville, United States Amateur Champion, was the leading amateur at 298.