|Sean O'Hair of the U.S hits a tee shot off the 18th hole during the Canadian Open Golf Tournament at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, July 23, 2011. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)
VANCOUVER -- He fired his Canadian coach.
He fired his Canadian caddie.
And then, Sean O'Hair fired a four-day total of four-under 276 to win the 2011 RBC Canadian Open, beating fellow American Kris Blanks on a sudden-death playoff hole at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.
"To be a champion of the Canadian Open, somebody was telling me it's the third-oldest national championship, so that's pretty cool," O'Hair said. "You look at the names on that trophy and there's some pretty cool names and to be a part of that crew, it's an honour. I think that's the best word for it -- I'm truly honoured to be the champion of this year's Canadian Open.
"To win a national title is very cool."
O'Hair was cool as ice in Sunday's final loop of Shaughnessy, carding a two-under 68 that included four birdies and two bogeys.
He found the rough off the tee on the first playoff hole, but salvaged a bogey and then watched Blanks (69) lip out a putt to end the extra session.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., the smooth-swinging Canadian Tour regular who was the obvious fan favourite in his attempt to become the first Canuck to win the event since 1954, signed for a two-over 72 in the final round and finished in a tie for fourth at two-under 278.
Argentina's Andres Romero (70) had an opportunity to join O'Hair and Blanks in the playoff, but missed his par putt on the last hole and finished third at three-under.
Australia's Geoff Ogilvy (70) split the fourth spot with Hadwin, while Americans Woody Austin (68), Scott Piercy (69) and third-round leader Bo Van Pelt (74) were the only other players to finish the week in red numbers, registering four-day tallies of one-under 279.
Sunday's triumph marks the fourth victory of O'Hair's career, comes with a cheque for $936,000 and puts a positive spin on what had been a mostly miserable campaign.
The 29-year-old struggled mightily in the spring, eventually splitting with his swing coach, Sean Foley of Burlington, Ont., and his caddie, Brennan Little of St. Thomas, Ont., during a span of five straight missed cuts.
He had high praise for both after the final round, saying "I don't think I'd be here without Sean Foley" and calling Little "a fantastic guy and a fantastic caddie."
But what seemed most ironic about his latest victory, at least in his own eyes, is that O'Hair wasn't feeling an ounce of confidence prior to Thursday's opening round.
"To be sitting here right now is unbelievable," said O'Hair, glancing over at the trophy during the post-round press conference. "When I played my Pro-Am, obviously it's a very intimidating golf course and I played horrific. Probably Wednesday night was my worst point of the whole year. I didn't know how I was going to play this week.
"It is ironic that I'm sitting here after Wednesday and how I felt, and to be holding the trophy is unbelievable."