NEWS
07/27/2015 07:04 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Canadian David Hearn falls short but believes he's playing best golf of career

OAKVILLE, Ont. — David Hearn came painfully close on a handful of putts that could have won him the Canadian Open. Instead, he finished third, two shots back of Jason Day.

Despite that loss, Hearn is on something of a roll. He has top-three finishes in two of his past three events and picked up a couple of valuable experiences in falling short at the Greenbrier Classic and then on home soil at the Canadian Open.

"It's got to be the best golf I'm playing," Hearn said. "I think I turned the corner on some of my ball striking. It's really showing. I think everyone can see it. I'm hitting a lot of really quality golf shots, and I give myself those chances for birdies when the heat's on."

Even after playing in the British Open, the heat was hottest on Hearn on Sunday at Glen Abbey as he tried to snap a 61-year drought since a Canadian last won the Canadian Open. With galleries cheering him on every hole, the 36-year-old Brantford, Ont., native felt the weight of big expectations on his shoulders.

Hearn missed some birdie chances that would have made a major difference but came away feeling good about hanging in there with Day and third-ranked golfer Bubba Watson, who was also in contention.

"I played great golf," Hearn said. "I gave myself a chance right until the very end, even though I didn't quite have my best stuff."

Hearn said he "could get used to" finishing in the top three so often. He earned US$394,400 for his third-place finish in the Canadian Open.

Less than a month after losing in a playoff at the Greenbrier, Hearn got to experience sleeping on a 54-hole lead and the pressure that creates.

Now he'll take some time off to prepare for the mid-August PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. That major is on his mind, but so is trying to qualify for the International team either through his play or as a selection by captain Nick Price.

"When I get back to the PGA, what will be on the top of my mind is playing well to get on that Presidents Cup team," Hearn said. "That was a goal of mine starting the year.

"I've certainly played my way into a position where another good tournament or two I can play my way on to that team. I'm just very happy that I have that opportunity right now."

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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press