McGirt just wants opportunities

William McGirt of the U.S. hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the RBC...

William McGirt of the U.S. hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club on July 28, 2012 in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. (HUNTER MARTIN/Getty Images/AFP)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

ANCASTER, ONT. - Whatever happens today as he strides the fairways and greens of Hamilton Golf and Country Club along with Robert Garrigus, William McGirt will avert his eyes when his playing partner pulls out his driver.

“I’m just going to try to hit fairways and greens and take advantage of opportunities when I get them,” said McGirt who, one shot off the lead, will play in the final pairing on Sunday for the first time on the PGA Tour.

“I can’t let myself be intimidated when he hits it 50 yards past me on every hole. He’s got that extra gear that I don’t have.”

Garrigus is No. 4 on the tour in driving distance. McGirt is No. 147, but he knows that there are a lot of different ways beyond length to solve the mysteries of old-style golf courses like Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

“I love old traditional-style golf courses. The most important thing is to be in the fairway so you can attack,” said McGirt. “This is a golf course you have use your head to make sure you have the ball in play.”

McGirt shot his second consecutive 66 Saturday, after an opening round 63. This is rarefied air for a player of McGirt’s modest experiences but he played with confidence and resolve in the spotlight.

“I think I handled it pretty well,” he said. “It helped to be playing with Robert and Scott (Piercy). We just got out there and had fun, laughing and joking all day. Robert seems to know just what to say at the right time to keep me loose.”

McGirt didn’t see this hot run at Hamilton coming.

“The funny thing is that I’m not playing a whole lot better than I did the previous five weeks,” he said. “It’s just that putts are going in now instead of burning the edges. I’m hitting a few shots close now.”

McGirt has not missed a putt within 10 feet all week.

“Shhhhh!” he said with a laugh. “Please stop. I don’t want to jinx it.”

It has taken him to a place he hasn’t been before - final pairing on a Sunday on the PGA Tour - and he’s not afraid of that.

“It just doesn’t get any better,” he said.

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As expected, David Hearn and Graham DeLaet are the two top native-born players heading into the final round of the Canadian Open, both far off the leaders.

Hearn and DeLaet head the five-Canadian contingent who survived the Friday cut and now sit at two-under 208 with 18 holes remaining. Surprising amateur Albin Choi is just one shot back at 209. Matt Hill, of Bright’s Grove, is at even-par 210 and Kingston’s Matt McQuillan is at 214 after ballooning to a 77 on Saturday.

Hearn shot 72 Saturday and wasn’t happy about the way he played.

“Obviously I had a bad day and I’m looking forward to a better one tomorrow,” he said. “I made a lot of mistakes out there today but my game is still very close.”

Twenty-three Canadians started the tournament on Thursday but 18 of them failed to make the cut.

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ANCASTER - While the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open is not exactly littered with household names, some of them weren’t far away.

Retief Goosen tied for the low round of the day, with a sizzling 63, combining a bogey-free round with seven birdies but he started at two-under par and wasn’t able to get it into double-figures.

Long-hitting J.B. Holmes made an early run Saturday but stalled on the back nine until he made birdie at the 18th to get to 10-under-par.

Vijay Singh put himself in position to make plenty of birdies but managed only two because of a balky putter, then made a disastrous double-bogey at the par-five 17th, one of the easiest holes on the course.

Australian Stuart Appleby also got off to a decent start with a couple of front-nine birdies, but he failed to sustain any momentum, sitting tied for 19th at seven-under-par.

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Hole of the day

No. 4 Par-five 542 yards

Under the most difficult circumstances, No. 4 is one of the prime birdie or eagle opportunities at HGCC but with the course playing soft, there really isn’t any defence for this straightaway par-five. Saturday, it yielded three eagles, including one to tournament leader Robert Garrigus, 32 birdies, 36 pars and just eight bogeys.


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