THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - The long wait made the win even sweeter for Sean O'Hair.
O'Hair scrambled from three shots off the pace to force a playoff, then watched Kris Blanks miss a short putt to win the RBC Canadian Open Sunday at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.
It was O'Hair's fourth PGA Tour victory but the first since 2009. He shot a 2-under 68 to finish at 4 under in the US$5.2-million tournament.
Canada's Adam Hadwin began the day one back of the leader, slipped down the leaderboard, but then battled back to finish in a tie for fourth place.
O'Hair, who admitted there were times he wondered if he would win another tournament, was very emotional after the victory.
"I just think you appreciate the blessings you have,'' said the 29-year-old from West Chester, Pa., who collected US$936,000.
"Sometimes when you are playing well, you take that good play for granted. It's not easy out here. There are a lot of good players. To win out here and play well is difficult. I'm not the type of player that is going to win 10 times in a year.
I just think I've learned to appreciate being where I am right now.''
Hadwin finished the day with a 72 and was 2 under for the tournament. He collected US$228,800.
"It's was a very exciting time,'' said the 23-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C. "Being in the final group and playing for a country was pretty exciting.
"I wish I had been able to start off a little better. I brought it back. It was exciting on the back and I had a chance on the last couple of holes.''
Blanks, who lead after the first round, started at 3 under Sunday. He made a 10-foot putt on the 18th to force the playoff. But on the first extra hole he missed a five-foot putt to give O'Hair the win.
Blanks took home $561,600.
Hadwin, who wore a bright red shirt over sparkling white pants, began the day one shot back of the leader but his game began to wobble. He stumbled with a bogey on the first hole, then suffered a disastrous double-bogey on the par-3 No. 8 to fall five strokes off.
Hadwin regrouped on the back nine, carding three straight birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 14. He pumped his fist after the last one, bringing a roar from the large gallery following him on a warm, sun-soaked afternoon.
Only five Canadians have won the Canadian Open, the third oldest championship in golf. The last was Pat Fletcher in
1954 when the tournament was held at Point Grey in Vancouver.
Fletcher earned $3,000 first-place money from a total purse of $15,000 after beating fellow Canadian Gordon Brydson by four strokes at the Point Grey club in Vancouver, which is a long tee shot from the Shaughnessy course.
Mike Weir of Bright's Grove, Ont., was the last Canadian to make a serious challenge for the title, losing in a playoff to Vijay Singh in 2004.
Weir, a former Masters champion, was forced to withdraw from the tournament Friday with a sore elbow.
Of the 17 Canadians who started in the field of 156, 12 didn't make Friday's cut, which was at plus 4.
The beauty of the 7,010-yard, tree-lined course was lost on some of the golfers this week. Instead of taking in some of the breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean, they were more concerned with the tall, thick rough which sucked up shots that landed just a few feet off the fairways.
"They are very close to having it set up well,'' said Luke Donald, the world's No. 1-ranked player, who shot 3 under Sunday to finish at plus-2. "The rough is just a little bit too penal.
"If they had a secondary cut (on the grass) where if you are just a little off you are not going to get penalized quite so much. Maybe even just turn a couple of the (par) 4s into 5s. Guys would make a few more birdies out there."