OAKVILLE, Ontario — The RBC Canadian Open has been good to William McGirt during his time on the PGA Tour.
Prior to notching his first Tour win earlier this season at The Memorial, the Fairmont native’s best performances had come North of the Border.
McGirt hasn’t missed the cut in five appearances at Canada’s national championship, including back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013.
He returns to the site of his second runner-up finish this week at Glen Abbey Golf Club, Jack Nicklaus’ first solo design. McGirt finished 34th last season at the course in Oakville, Ontario.
“I love the course and the tournament,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “The golf course is very different this week from years past. They’ve had no rain so the rough is very dry and bordering on dead in certain spots. The greens are the best I’ve seen them and are very firm. All in all I’m excited about this week and getting everything ready for next week.”
Grouped with Greg Chalmers and Matt Kuchar, McGirt tees off from No. 10 at 8 a.m. Thursday in the first round. On Friday, the trio will start at 1:15 p.m. from the opening hole.
Last season at Glen Abbey, McGirt had been near the top of the leaderboard with a 67 and 69 on the first two days, but a 75 in the third round dropped him out of serious contention. He rallied on Sunday with a 69, finishing at 8 under for the tournament.
Currently 19th in scoring average, McGirt sits 15th in FedEx Cup standings and is ranked 47th in the official world ranking.
He will compete in the year’s final major next week at the PGA Championship in New Jersey. McGirt made his major debut at the 2012 PGA Championship in Charleston, S.C.
He had tough luck in his first two majors this season, missing the cut by three strokes at the U.S. Open — playing 36 holes in one day at Oakmont — and one stroke at last week’s British Open.
An untimely injury played a role in his misfortune at Royal Troon, but it was still an enjoyable experience for McGirt — who traveled to Europe for the first time.
“(I) had a great trip to the Open Championship,” he said. “Didn’t play well (in the first round), largely due to sleeping wrong on my left shoulder and barely being able to swing — hopefully have that worked out this week. The trip was a lot of fun.”
McGirt also spoke highly of the fans and their knowledge of the game he loves most.
“The golf course was fantastic and the people were even better,” he said. “They appreciate good shots and know the difference between good shots and average shots. They appreciate how difficult the bunkers can be over there. Sometimes simply getting the ball out of the bunker is a great shot.”
While he’s disappointed in his performance at Troon, McGirt is hopeful he can get back on track this week in Canada.
“I sort of got the wrong end of the weather draw, but still played well enough (in the second round) to make the cut,” he said. “An untimely bogey cost me on No. 17 but I put myself behind the 8-ball (in the first round). Hopefully, (I’ll) have the shoulder straightened out and ready to go this week.”
The top two players in the world, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, headline a loaded field in Canada that features five of the top 25 players. Day is the defending champion of the event.
David Hearn, who took a two-shot lead into last year’s final round, headlines a group of 12 Canadians competing.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.