Risdon relieved to be at Canadian Open

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:44 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Strathmore's Dustin Risdon wasn't trying to disrespect his caddie.

In this instance, though, the advice seemed a bit suspect.

Knowing he needed a solid showing at last week's Canadian Tour stop in Winnipeg to secure an invite to the PGA Tour RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, Risdon's mind started to wander and his longtime friend and looper Dale Vallely couldn't keep him on track.

"Dale was telling me, 'Quit thinking about it,'" Risdon said. "And I was just like, 'Yeah, easy for you to say.' I was definitely thinking about it. I'm just glad that I'm here now."

After a 13th-place performance at the Canadian Tour Players Cup in Winnipeg, Risdon sits fifth on the CanTour's Order of Merit and earned the final exemption to this week's PGA Tour stop at Shaughnessy.

Chileans Benjamin Alvarado and Hugo Leon, Mexico's Jose Rodriguez and B.C.'s Roger Sloan also earned invites thanks to their success on the minor-league circuit so far this season.

For a few hours last Saturday, Risdon wondered if he'd be joining them.

"I kind of screwed up, and I started looking at the leaderboard on Saturday, and I seen Alvarado and Sloan up there, and I figured I had to pass one of those two guys," Risdon said. "I made a couple of late bogeys on Saturday, and I was really disappointed walking off that I let myself look at the leaderboard and do that, you know?

"I actually sat down with (Canadian Tour official Dan) Halldorson and the boys on Sunday morning and said, 'Alright, lay it out here. What do I have to do today?' They made it sound a little bit easier than I thought it was going to be, so I went out care-free on Sunday and tried not to look at the leaderboard.

"I played pretty good, just didn't get the bounces. But it was good enough."

Good enough to earn an invite to the RBC Canadian Open for the third time in his career.

Risdon spent the past two summers on the Nationwide Tour, and although he failed to keep his card, he's optimistic he can hold his own at Shaughnessy.

In six starts this summer on the Canadian Tour, the 30-year-old has earned $41,870. If he survives the cut at the US$5.2-million RBC Open, he'll almost certainly cash his biggest cheque of 2011.

"This is great. You get to sign a lot of autographs and get the Canadian fans behind you," Risdon said. "But I'm just trying to treat it like any other tournament, try to do the same things I do every other week and stick to the gameplan out there and see what happens.

"You've just got to have the mindset that you belong out here, and, hopefully, you get it done."

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