Adidas & Titleist Player Nick Taylor accomplished a historic victory at the RBC Canadian Open, becoming the first Canadian in 69 years to win his national open. In a thrilling finale, Taylor secured the title by sinking a remarkable 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole, defeating Tommy Fleetwood in a gripping showdown.
The magnitude of the moment was evident as Taylor threw his putter into the air and joyously embraced his caddie. The PGA TOUR veteran was overwhelmed with emotion, tears welling up in his eyes, as he expressed his gratitude to the fellow players and his family who supported him throughout his journey. It was an indescribable feeling for Taylor, who had achieved a lifelong dream.
The last Canadian to claim victory in the national open was Pat Fletcher back in 1954. This win marked the end of a long drought, as Taylor followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and etched his name in Canadian golf history. Notably, Fletcher, originally from England, was the last non-Canadian-born champion, with Carl Keffer being the sole Canadian-born winner in 1909 and 1914.
The atmosphere was electric, with galleries cheering Taylor's every move, even serenading him with the national anthem, "O Canada," on one tee box. Taylor's final moments were nothing short of spectacular as he sank an 11-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, securing a score of 17-under 271 at Oakdale. Walking backward with his fist raised in triumph, he witnessed the ball dropping into the cup, sealing his victory with a 6-under 66 on the final day.
Fleetwood, needing a birdie on the reachable par 5 to clinch the win in regulation, faltered with a wayward tee shot and an awkward lie in the right rough. He settled for par, forcing the playoff to continue under rainy conditions. Both players exchanged birdies on their first attempt at the 18th hole during the playoff. They parred the 18th and the par-3 ninth before returning to the 18th for the final showdown.
While Taylor reached the green in two shots, Fleetwood played it safe, opting to lay up after his drive landed in a fairway bunker. Fleetwood had a chance to birdie, but Taylor's uphill eagle putt stole the limelight. Striking the flagstick and dropping into the cup, it sealed Taylor's victory and sparked celebrations among the spectators.
The 35-year-old Taylor, hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Abbotsford, British Columbia, secured his third PGA TOUR title. Despite a challenging start with a 75 in the opening round, he rallied with a 67 on Friday to make the cut. Taylor's exceptional 63 on Saturday put him three shots behind the leader, C.T. Pan, setting the stage for his remarkable comeback.
Rory McIlroy, the two-time defending champion and a strong contender heading into the final round, finished in a tie for ninth place, five shots behind Pan. Fleetwood, a prominent figure in European golf and a two-time Ryder Cup player, is still chasing his first victory on the PGA TOUR.
Tyrrell Hatton, Aaron Rai, and C.T. Pan narrowly missed out on the playoff, finishing just one shot behind the leaders with impressive performances of their own.