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The Mutt Gets It Done At St. George’s
-Pettersson Wins The RBC Canadian Open-
Carl Pettersson himself said that until the closing back nine at the RBC Canadian Open today he was “nothing more than a sideshow.” Until then Hawaiian Dean Wilson had proved unrelenting in his pursuit of the title, posting par after par on his front nine to protect the four stroke gap he had garnered through round three.
But in time Pettersson (71-68-60-67-266) would catch Wilson (65-65-65-72-267) and win his 4th PGA Tour title.
In his advance through the first 11 holes on Sunday Wilson had just one blemish on his card, a bogey on the tricky par 3, 8th hole, but he quickly rectified that with a birdie on the par five hole that followed.
Pettersson, meanwhile, was playing nothing like he had on Saturday when he set golf fans on their ears with a tour of one of Canada’s best courses in just 60 strokes. The North Carolinian, by way of Sweden and England, (thus his own self-designation of a being a “mutt) made a few baubles through his front nine but counteracted them quickly enough to hold his score to where he had began the day, at 11 under par, and still four back of Wilson, currently non-exempt on the PGA Tour and playing on a sponsor’s exemption.
Then the back nine began.
“Yeah, I just love that back nine. It just set’s up great for me,” said Pettersson who mashed through the final nine in 29 strokes on Saturday and was looking forward to seeing them again in the final battle for the title. Once again he fell into its comforting arms.
“I started playing really well, and then I kind of felt like I took of the tournament coming in,” related the NC State alum with one of the most confusing accents you might ever find on the PGA Tour.
But he did win, courtesy of not only his career-low score on day three but a valiant charge that had began on holes eight and nine with birdies and carried through into the key holes on the back nine. Faced with a four stroke gap Pettersson decided to give himself a little challenge with Wilson dominating their pairing until then. “I started to talk to my caddy on the back nine; I was like, let’s see if we can get close to him.”
The new Canadian national champion said he played aggressive coming in and it paid off. “That was fun. And it helped me.”
The compensation was sub-par scores on 11, 13, 14, and 15, completing a run of six under par scoring on eight holes. That pushed him into the lead as Wilson botched the 12th and 14th holes on his way to a final lap of 72.
There was just a little drama left on the eighteenth hole as Pettersson carried a two stroke lead into the last of a string of tough holes. Pettersson left his birdie stroke well short and left the door slightly ajar for Wilson who could not capitalize, leaving Pettersson to two putt for the win and to receive the adoration of an appreciative Toronto crowd.
“It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe I won the tournament,” said a happy but slightly shocked Pettersson to the media afterward. “..last year my game left me. And you know, you start questioning yourself if you’re good enough to play, and am I ever going to win again. And yeah, I was feeling it coming up the last hole. I knew anything could happen, but it was special – most important win for me coming back after last year playing so poorly.”
For his win Pettersson earns his way into the 2010 PGA Championship as well as a spot on the 2011 Masters and a cheque for $918,000. He also gets to be the defending champion of the RBC Canadian Open next year when it will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
-Carl Pettersson used a new Nike VR Rev 60 degree wedge this week
-Pettersson, who has been a Nike Athlete for eight years, says the key to his win was his driving this week, A month and a half ago he switched to a Nike Golf VR Red Driver.
This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Canada's Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)