Miss fairway, expect trouble at Canadian Open

Carl Pettersson of Sweden watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the...

Carl Pettersson of Sweden watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina May 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Chris Keane)

IAN HUTCHINSON, SPECIAL TO QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:53 PM ET

Accuracy promises to be a key component for the eventual winner as the RBC Canadian Open gets underway at Vancouverís Shaughnessy Golf and Country.

Carl Pettersson, somebody who knows a little something about winning Canadian Opens after doing just that last year at Torontoís St. Georgeís Golf and Country Club, says he plans to keep an eye on the weather report as he defends his 2010 title.

The rough is reportedly up at Shaughnessy and with the weather expected to be cool with occasional rain, ďit becomes even more lush and thick and tough to get out of and the course played longer tee-to-green, obviously,Ē said Pettersson after one of his practice rounds.

ďI would love to see this golf course play firm and fast, but I donít know if thatís ever the case here,Ē he said, adding that rough puts a premium on precision.

ďItís very challenging off the tee. You have to hit the fairways and itís just an old-style golf course,Ē said Pettersson.

The last time the Open was played at Shaughnessy in 2005, it ranked second only to Pinehurst No. 2, the site of the U.S. Open that year, as toughest golf course with an average score that was 2.533 over par. That year, Augusta National was sixth at 1.975 over par.

ďItís a typical lower mainland golf course here in B.C.,Ē said Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., who played Shaughnessy a few times before arriving for the Open.

ďItís tight, itís tree-lined. Itís got thick rough and I think, with a lot of the par fours being upwards of 450, 460 and how narrow the fairways are and how thick that rough is, itís going to be a premium on driving this week. You have to get the ball on the fairways to give yourself a chance,Ē said Hadwin, the low Canadian at last yearís Open.

TAKE IT TO THE BANK

Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., Dustin Risdon of Strathmore, Alta., Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont., and Hadwin have made more on the Canadian Tour than the $23,312 won by Mike Weir on the PGA Tour this year and all will be in the field this week Ö Sloan, 24, may be the least known of the rising Canadians, but he has three top 10s including a win in six events on the Canadian Tour Ö Anthony Kim, 26, missed a good chunk of last year due to a thumb injury that required surgery and three weeks ago, he had this to say about the other young guys on tour feeding off each otherís success, while he has struggled. ďI feel like I havenít had any food in my stomach in a long time, so thereís nothing to feed off. Iíve been on my own and struggling with my golf game, but itís starting to come back and obviously, I use their good play as motivation for me.Ē Think Kim might feel suddenly bloated after his T5 finish at the British Open, a tournament he didnít even know heíd play until the week before it started? The three-time tour winner is off at 7:40 a.m. local time with two other big names from the Open Championship in Rickie Fowler and Lucas Glover. After the Open, Kim is staying in Canada to play in the Telus World Skins Game in Banff Ö The charter that brought players from the British Open to Vancouver got in at 11:30 p.m. Pacific time, which would have been 7:30 a.m. Monday morning back in London. Players wanted to get off the plane when it stopped for refueling in Iceland just to get their passports stamped. How often do you get to say you were in Iceland, right? However, they had to stay on the plane.

THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR

This has such a delightful Darren Clarke ring to it. After Pettersson redefined moving day by shooting a 60 in the third round last year, he talked about what he did the night before. ďI thought I was going to miss the cut. We got finished with the round and it was right on the borderline. Me and Jay Williamson were actually sitting, watching the computer to see if we were going to make the cut and had a few Canadian beers in there. That settled me down, I think. Maybe, thatís what did it.Ē Pettersson would have recorded a 59 had he not burned the edge of the cup with a 30-foot putt on 18 Ö Itís always a giggle when you hear tournament officials and the media going on about the golf course being the big draw for tour players. Sure, the money and influence of RBC had nothing to do with the likes of Ernie Els, who hasnít played the Canadian Open in years, Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald, Jim Furyk and Anthony Kim being in the field Ö Canadians might not recognize the name of Brian Hutton of Burlington, but he is the ultimate longshot going into the Open this week. Hutton won last yearís Canadian PGA Club Professionals Championship, to punch his ticket into this weekís event. Heíll be the last person to get into the Open on that exemption. Next year, it will go to whoever is on top of the new Canadian PGA rankings that were introduced earlier this year. If that exemption was handed out today, the recipient would be Danny King of Auroraís Magna Golf Academy, who has already played the Open a couple of times.


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