ANCASTER, Ontario — With a chance to force a playoff with Scott Piercy, Fairmont native William McGirt came up just short — but he achieved his goal of keeping his touring card for next year, pocketing $457,000 for a tie for second place in the RBC Canadian Open.
McGirt, making what he called his "worst putt of the week", left a 15-foot par putt shot on the 18th green to end on a bogey and finish one stroke beind Piercy, who claimed the title at 17 under and its $936,000 top prize. McGirt had putted well all week, and became only the fourth player in known PGA history to not miss a putt inside of 10 feet for the whole tournament.
He admitted to some nerves.
"It was a struggle to get the butterflies to fly in formation," McGirt told Peter Kostis in an interview shortly after he finished playing. "I've never been in this situation before ... to have a chance to win a golf tournament with a chance to get in a playoff.
"But I enjoyed every minute of it. It was an absolute blast."
McGirt, who shot a final-round 1-under-par 69 after opening with rounds of 63, 66 and 66, got to 18 under after a chip-in birdie on No. 9, and once led by 2 shots. But he had his first three-putt bogey of the week on the 15th hole when he ran a 45-foot putt some 15 feet by the hole. He then failed to birdie No. 17, a par 5 that played the easiest of all the holes on the course, and knocked his 5-iron second shot into the bunker on No. 18.
After making par on his first two holes, McGirt made back-to-back birdies on hole Nos. 3 and 4. He went on to birdie Nos. 7 and 9 to hold the lead through nine holes, with his only blemish on the front nine being a bogey on No. 8.
McGirt, who had never had a top 10 finish before last week, has now made consecutive top-5 finishes, while also winning his biggest check ever for consecutive weeks.
He has now won about $980,000 on the year, which will easily put him in the top 125 for the year. He also climbed from 118th to 61st on the Fed Ex list, ensuring that he make the playoffs.
"My number one goal coming into this week was to make sure I locked up getting in the (FedEx Cup) playoffs," McGirt said. "I would've loved to win the golf tournament but I played very well all week."
McGirt now plans to play the Reno-Tahoe Open next week, and he will be off the week of the PGA, which he missed qualifying for by about $100,000 on the money list.