Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Robert MacIntyre’s father had ‘a wee go at him’ Saturday and it made all the difference. That and more from 3rd round of 2024 RBC Canadian Open

By admin Jun4,2024

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HAMILTON, Ontario – After falling four shots back early in the third round, Robert MacIntyre rallied with three birdies and an eagle in a row to catapult into the lead and take a four-stroke lead heading into the final round of the RBC Canadian Open.

The Scotsman shot a 4-under 66 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club to improve to 14-under 196 and four ahead of Ryan Fox, Ben Griffin and Mackenzie Hughes. MacIntyre struggled off the tee and dropped down to 9 under after back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 8 and 9. How did he flip the script?

“I think it’s my attitude now. I’ve spoken about it all week. I’ve been in a good mindset from the get-go and had zero expectation at the start of the week,” he said. “Today I just stuck in there. 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. I just, it never got away from me. A bit of luck, a bit of myself being staying in the moment, staying calm. I got my reward with the putter in the end.”

Did he ever. Beginning at 14, he caught fire and holed 133 feet of putts on the back nine. MacIntyre, who has won twice on the DP World Tour and is a rookie this season on the PGA Tour is attempting to become the fifth Scottish winner on the PGA Tour since 1940. He would join Sandy Lyle, Paul Lawrie, Martin Laird and Russell Knox.

Here are five more things to know from the third round of the RBC Canadian Open.

Robert MacIntyre speaks with his father Dougie, who is caddying for him, at the 16th tee during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Robert MacIntyre is attempting to become the first winner of a PGA Tour event with his father on his bag since Heath Slocum won the 2005 Sanderson Farms Championship with father Jack toting for him. MacIntyre’s dad, Dougie, provided the pep talk his son needed after making consecutive bogeys at Nos. 8 and 9.

“He was having a wee go at me when I was walking from the 10th tee down to the fairway. Look, he was a sporting guy, he knows how to win, knows how to lose, he’s been through it all. He could see my head going a little bit and he’s like, What have you been working on for the last eight weeks, 10 weeks, whatever I’ve been doing, when I realized what was the problem. I kind of flipped into that mode and tried to find the positive in everything,” MacIntyre said.

He said it was just what he needed to kick him into shape. The turning point for the Scot happened one hole later at the 11th hole after he hit a drive into the fairway and it rolled into a seeded divot.

“Instead of moaning and mumping about it, I was like, you know what, this seeded divot allowed me to hit a 6-iron, a cutty 6, and I’m going, if that wasn’t in an a seeded divot I wasn’t going to hit that shot. So I tried to flip the negatives into positives,” he explained. “Just started to find momentum. I holed a putt, holed a long putt, and then it just, when it gets rolling it’s nice.”

Asked what he learned from competing in the Ryder Cup in Rome that can help him in Sunday’s final round, MacIntyre said, “Quite a lot. There’s a couple of things that people have told me, obviously my playing partner Justin Rose, who is, that man’s done it all in the game of golf, and so much respect for him, especially being a partner and being side by side fighting for the same cause. He’s given me something that I’ll never forget, and tomorrow I’m going to try and implement it and play my best and the outcome will be the outcome.”

“You’re not going to tell me what that is, are you?” a reporter asked.

“No,” MacIntyre said with a smile.

For more on MacIntyre’s story, learn five things to know about Bobby Mac.

Mackenzie Hughes gestures to fans after sinking a birdie putt at the 14th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Mackenzie Hughes poured in a 17-foot birdie putt at the 10th hole and the partisan crowd erupted in cheers. Hughes, who grew up not far from here in Dundas, said he felt the hair stand up on his arms and neck.

“I never get cheered for like this before or really ever, because when I’m playing in the U.S., I mean, I’m pretty much a nobody,” he said.

How great was shooting 67 at the course he grew up taking lessons at from the club’s director of golf? 

“I can’t remember having that much fun on a golf course in a long time,” he said.

Hughes made bogey at the last to drop back into a tie for second at 10-under 200, but he’s positioned to make a run at his national open. Last year, Nick Taylor ended the 69-year drought without a Canadian winning the national open. The last time Canadians won it back-to-back? 1913-14.

“You never know, weird things have happened before and, I mean, four shots can be gone in a matter of three or four holes,” Hughes said. “He might come out and shoot 30 on the front nine, you just don’t know. For me, my game plan won’t change, I’ll just try and get as many looks as I can, get the putter hot, get the crowd going early and see if I can make a charge.” 

Ben Griffin hits his tee shot at the 15th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Griffin has eye surgery scheduled for Tuesday. First, he’s going to try to win his first PGA Tour title on Sunday and qualify for the U.S. Open on Monday. 

He shot his second straight 65 on Saturday to climb into contention at 10-under 200 and tied for second four shots back. Back to that eye surgery: “I have four retina holes in my left eye and one in my right eye,” he explained. “I have lattice degeneration, which is just like a thinning retina, so I got holes connecting my retina to my eye, so if I don’t repair them I’m at risk of retina detachment, so I’ve got to go get those filled to try to keep that issue so I don’t have to think about that too much.”

He started wearing sunglasses for the first time while playing competitive golf about four holes into his first round on Thursday.

“Just to make it darker and, honestly, it helps with the floaters because the floaters are dark, and so when it’s really bright they’re way more defined, especially on a golf course where there’s not much shade.”

“I wear contacts and my vision is 20/20 with contacts in, but my eye’s basically, instead of it being a perfect circle, it’s more of an oval and so it’s stretched out,” he added. “So the retina that attaches is kind of being stretched as well as the eye gets smaller. So I found out I had that, and because I have lattice degeneration I’m at risk of getting retina holes and at risk of retinal detachment.”

The floaters haven’t bothered his putting alignment. Griffin made some unexpected long-range putts, including a 53-foot birdie at 15.

“It’s always nice when you can see those long ones go in, that just boosts your confidence and makes you feel really good,” he said.

Rory McIlroy watches his fairway shot on the 14th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After struggling with his swing on Friday, Rory McIlroy hit the range for an important session. It worked. 

He ranked 151st of 154 in Strokes Gained: Approach Shot on Friday, losing more than three strokes to the field. On Saturday? He ranked first in the field in that category, gaining nearly three strokes. It helped him post a 5-under 65 and improve to 7 under and T-11 heading into the final round. What was the difference?

“I just got a little out of sync, so just worked a little bit on sort of tempo and rhythm and just slowing the transition down from the top,” he said. “That was really it.”

McIlroy finally made a birdie on his first nine of the day, making an eagle at No. 4 and three birdies on the front nine. But a bogey at 10 stalled his momentum.

“Once I turned in 5-under I thought if I could play the back in 3 and get to 10-under for the day I thought that would be, I would have a really good chance then,” he said. “So, a little disappointed not to pick any more up on the back nine.”

McIlroy shot 61 to win here in 2019 and likely will need another low one in his bid for a third title at the RBC Canadian Open. 

“It’s a much tougher course than it was fiver years ago,” McIlroy said. “But I felt like I had a chance to shoot really low today.”

Tommy Fleetwood hits his tee shot at the 18th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Fox looked as if he could run away and hide on Saturday, playing the first five holes in 4 under to reach 14 under. But the wheels fell off as he made four bogeys in a seven-hole stretch beginning at No. 8. It added up to an even-par 70 and he’s among a trio tied for second, four back.

Tommy Fleetwood was the hard-luck loser in a playoff last year at the RBC Canadian Open and he’s in the trophy hunt again after shooting a bogey-free 64 to improve to 9-under 201 and T-5.

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