Canadian Open goes Green

Canadian Open champion Nathan Green hails from Toronto, in New South Wales, Australia. (Sun...

Canadian Open champion Nathan Green hails from Toronto, in New South Wales, Australia. (Sun Media/Stan Behal)

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

OAKVILLE -- Nathan Green did all of Toronto proud yesterday by winning the RBC Canadian Open on the second playoff hole over PGA Tour veteran Retief Goosen of South Africa yesterday.

Toronto, New South Wales, that is.

"It smells a little better than Toronto (Ontario)," Green said jokingly, when asked about his Australian hometown, which is named after its Canadian counterpart.

Green almost gave the tournament away on the first playoff hole (18th) when he hit his second shot from the fairway into the gallery. Goosen, 40, then had a golden opportunity to take his eighth PGA title, but missed a five-foot putt, which gave Green new life. Green pulled out the dramatic win, his first on the PGA Tour, when Goosen's second shot from the fairway in the second playoff hole (17th) landed in the rough. The Aussie placed his second shot to within 12 feet of the pin and then two-putted for the win, the $918,000 US first-prize cheque and a two-year PGA exemption.

"It has been a tough year. My game has been pretty poor and my golf has shifted from (trying to win) to just trying to keep my (PGA) card," said a relieved Green, who was 133rd on the money list coming into the Open at Glen Abbey and whose previous best finish was a tie for second at the 2006 Buick Invitational. "It's such a buzz for me to be able to turn the year around so dramatically."

The 34-year-old Aussie is a colourful character. Not only does he live in a town named in honour of Canadian world-champion sculler Ned Hanlan, who visited Australia in 1884, Green once worked in a crematorium that his parent's manage.

Green stayed in downtown Toronto this past week, so he was quite aware of the fact that the city was piled high with garbage. But as a three-year veteran of the Canadian Tour, he has a lot of fondness for the country and Toronto.

The Open was plagued with thunderstorms and organizers weren't able to complete the third or fourth rounds on Sunday, forcing the extra day. But the conditions were near-perfect yesterday.

Mike Weir of Bright's Grove, Ont., had an inconsistent final round, recording five birdies and four bogeys for a one-under 71, leaving him at 10 under for the event. Weir was satisfied with his play but lamented the soft conditions left by the constant rain.

"A dart contest like this is not the way we want to have a championship," he said.

Calgary's Stephen Ames finished at 12 under, after his best round of the week, a five-under 67, posting seven birdies and two bogeys in the process.

Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., turned some heads by finishing at 12 under, shooting a 66 in final round. Graham Delaet of Weyburn, Sask., finished at six under.


Photos