So close, but yet so far

HIMANI EDIRIWEERA -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:35 AM ET

Nearly 35,000 fans went from heaven to hell in less than an hour as Mike Weir's lead -- and a country's hopes -- evaporated in a heart-breaking, sudden-death playoff loss at the Canadian Open yesterday. After four days of play, hopes were high Weir would be the first Canadian in 50 years, and the first Canadian-born player in 90-years, to win the title.

Instead, he lost to Vijay Singh-- the world's No. 1-ranked golfer -- at the Open's centennial anniversary at Glen Abbey in Oakville.

Weir led the tournament until the final hole then lost in the third playoff hole when his third shot on the par 5 18th found water.

'IT WAS FABULOUS'

"It would have been a great way to celebrate 100 years," fan Edwin D'Cruz, 51, said. "But, the ambience (of the course) was super and coupled with the weather, it was fabulous."

D'Cruz had been convinced Weir was on the path to vi ctory and was boastful in the moments leading up to the stunning loss.

After gloating about how Weir's win would further boost the popularity of the sport to young Canadians, D'Cruz threw his arms in the air in frustration and swallowed his words after Weir's collapse.

"(Weir's) play was OK -- it was average for a pro," added D'Cruz's pal, Valens Almeida, 45.

Mike Gorman, who travelled from Fredericton, N.B. for the Open, was homeward bound moments after the final round.

'CAN'T TAKE PRESSURE'

"I came only for this and I thought it was a great day," Gorman said. "I go to a lot of professional events and I've enjoyed this the most."

Bobcaygeon's Hasu Gasai and his buddy, Karim Jetha, bickered back and forth over the stunning finish.

"I was there for (Vijay) Singh," said Gasai. "He's struggled a lot to get to where he is today and maybe next time it will go to Mikey."

"He (Singh) is not Canadian," Jetha quipped. "(Weir) should have won but he just can't take the pressure -- he cracks. It would have been especially great if he did win because it's the anniversary."


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