Chez Reavie Wins 2008 RBC Canadian Open
By Chris Johnston
OAKVILLE -- Now that Chez Reavie has experienced his greatest moment in golf, he's going to have to take some time to focus on another sport.
The champion of the RBC Canadian Open counts the Arizona Diamondbacks among his sponsors and figures it's only a matter of time before the National League team asks him to throw out the first pitch at a game.
"We've talked about it already," said Reavie. "We'll see. I've got to work on my fastball first, but I'll definitely hit the mound."
In the meantime, he's left to enjoy some of the other perks that come with his first PGA Tour victory.
Reavie has already added two big tournaments to his schedule over the next two weeks — the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. And don't forget a winner's cheque that is worth more money than the total amount he'd earned since turning pro four years ago.
"How much? $900,000?" said Reavie. "That's unbelievable, really. Yeah, wow. That's all I can say is wow to that.
Believe it, Chez — your life has just changed.
Reavie demonstrated the most patience during a trying week at Glen Abbey and was rewarded with the victory after shooting a 1-under 70 on Sunday. He was three shots ahead of Billy Mayfair (68) and four up on Sean O'Hair (68) and Steve Marino (70).
Mike Weir was never truly able to challenge the lead on a final day where he missed two birdie putts from inside six feet. The popular lefty kept grinding and shot a 69 that gave him a tie for fifth.
That was good enough to earn him the Rivermead Cup as the low Canadian finisher but that wasn't the trophy he wanted.
"It just wasn't meant to be," said Weir.
Instead it was another diminutive golfer posing for photos on the 18th green. Reavie is generously listed at five-foot-nine and is known as the "Little Unit" — a reference to Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, who is called the "Big Unit."
Nothing could stop Reavie's momentum this week.
He found a way to stay sharp during multiple delays while more than 200 millimetres of rain drenched the course. He also kept his cool in a final-round pairing with a guy who has been called golf's next big thing.
That would be Anthony Kim, who struggled to a 75 after starting one shot behind Reavie.
"I played terrible," said Kim.
He was the top-ranked player to show up at a tournament that struggled to draw other big names because it is held one week after the British Open. There's no doubt that Reavie will be back to defend his title when the Canadian Open is played for the 100th time next July at Glen Abbey.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.
The only golfer who truly challenged him on the final day was Mayfair, a 41-year-old journeyman who was looking for his first PGA Tour victory in a decade. He made a late run with three quick birdies before settling for a disappointing par at the 18th.
Even still, there was no shame in losing to Reavie.
"He's a good kid and a hard worker," said Mayfair. "I'm really happy for him."
Happiness could be seen all over Reavie's face.
With a two-shot cushion, he was able to take a comfortable walk up the final fairway before finishing in style. The 26-year-old raised both arms in the air and received a loud ovation after rolling in a 12-footer for birdie to seal the victory.
"I'm so excited I'm numb," said Reavie.
It marked the end of another long day during an extremely long week.
Reavie was on the course at 7:30 a.m. to finish his third round on Sunday and made a birdie at the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead over Kim heading to the final 18 holes. He went straight back to bed after that.
"I just changed my shoes and went right back to my hotel and took a nap for an hour and a half," said Reavie. "Then I woke up, took a shower, and did the exact same routine I do every morning. Even though I had already done it once before, just to get in the same flow."
He played steady when the final round started. After bogeying two of his first three holes, Reavie was able to get back to even for the round with birdies at Nos. 4 and 9 — a pair of par-4s he birdied every time he played them this week.
With his playing partner Kim struggling, few other challengers were really able to push him down the stretch.
"I was actually surprised at how calm I was out there today," said Reavie. "Obviously, that was my goal, but I had never been in that situation, so I didn't know what to expect.
"I just managed to stay patient and I never pressed. Even when I made two bogeys early, I just kept with my game plan."
A casual observer would never have guessed that he was playing in just the 28th PGA Tour event of his career or that he had entered the week ranked No. 362 in the world.
Reavie had been waiting for this moment since he was a teenager playing junior tournaments in Arizona. A victory at the 2001 U.S. Public Links Championship got him into the Masters a year later and provided Reavie with the motivation to pursue a career in this sport.
Complete validation of that decision finally came on Sunday night.
"I'm just so excited," he said. "I don't think a lot of people understand when you're growing up and you're practising and you're working so hard, this is your goal.
"But there are no guarantees. It's not like some other sport. It's an amazing feeling, it really is."
Notes: Reavie is the first player to win this event in his first try since Jerry Pate in 1976 ... Canadian Amateur champion Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., finished 53rd after shooting a final-round 70. That's the best showing by a homegrown amateur at this event since 1972 ... Two-time defending champion Jim Furyk tied for 14th.
• Canada’s Nick Taylor finished T53 this week – it’s the best finish by a Canadian amateur in this event since Nick Weslock finished T34 in 1972.
• Veteran Billy Mayfair posted a final-round 68 and wound up in solo second place. This is Mayfair’s third top-10 of the year – T2 at the PODS Championship, T4 at the Shell Houston Open. Mayfair has now made the cut in 11 of his last 12 starts. He collected 2,700 FedExCup points and jumped from No. 81 to No. 30 on the season points list. His runner-up check of $540,000 pushed his season total to $1,350,593. Mayfair also moved from No. 85 to No. 43 on the money list. This marks the seventh time in Mayfair’s career that he has gone over the $1M mark in a single season, and the fourth straight year he has done it.
• Nicholas Thompson tied for fifth this week, his fourth top-10 of the year. Thompson is now No. 46 on the FedExCup points list and No. 49 on the money list.
• This is only the second tournament of the 2008 PGA TOUR season that has utilized lift, clean and place conditions for all four rounds – the other was the AT&T Classic in suburban Atlanta.
• Following the completion of round 3, the field was cut to the low 70 professionals and ties, leaving a total of 71 players to tee off in round four. Those who did not qualify for play today received their appropriate share of the official prize money in accordance with their respective positions.
• Despite a final-round 75, Anthony Kim finished T8 this week, his sixth top-10 finish in 16 starts this year. Kenny Perry (20 starts), Stewart Cink (16 starts) and Robert Allenby (19 starts) currently lead the PGA TOUR with seven top-10s this year. Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy and Tiger Woods all have six top-10s to their credit in 2008.
• Canadian favorite Mike Weir birdied the final hole for a 2-under 69 that put him into a tie for fifth place. Weir’s finish is the best by a Canadian in this event since Weir finished second here at Glen Abbey in 2004.
The following are final Canadian scores for Sunday, July 27, 2008.
(7,222 yards, Par 71)
Mike Weir, Bright’s Grove, Ont. 65-79-68-69----272
(a) Nick Taylor 70-70-72-71----283
David Hearn, Brantford, Ont. 69-72-69-74----284
Bryan DeCorso, Guelph, Ont. 74-67-70-74----285
Ian Leggatt, Cambridge, Ont. 70-71-74-MC
Jon Mills, Oshawa, Ont. 69-71-77-MC
Dustin Risdon, Calgary, Alta. 68-72-80-MC
David Morland IV, Aurora, Ont. 71-72-MC
Andrew Parr, London, Ont. 72-71-MC
Chang Wan Woo, Markham, Ont. 73-74-MC
Jacob Scriven, Uxbridge, Ont. 79-71-MC
Stephen Ames, Calgary, Alta. 72-71-MC
Adam Short, Vineland, Ont. 76-67-MC
(a) Michael Knight 71-73-MC
Jim Rutledge, Victoria, B.C. 75-71-MC
Brad Fritsch, Manotick, Ont. 71-76-MC
Wes Heffernan, Calgary, Alta. 74-73-MC
Eric Landreville, Melocheville, Que. 81-71-MC
Todd Halpen, Calgary, Ont. 75-78-MC
(a) denotes amateur