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Hearn makes cut at RBC Canadian Open after long PGA Tour layoff

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HAMILTON — It's been six long months since David Hearn played in a PGA Tour event. It's been even longer since the 44-year-old Canadian made a cut.

But he will tee it up in the third round of the RBC Canadian Open on Saturday.

Hearn was the low Canadian on Thursday after a 3-under 67 round but then he laboured to a 3-over score on Friday to make the even-par cut and return to the third round of a PGA Tour event.

"It certainly wasn't what I was looking for but with as much time as I've had off from tournament golf, I certainly was fighting through a few things today," said Hearn before he knew for sure he'd make the cut. "I certainly hope that I'm around for two more days. I'd like two more cracks at it."

Hearn last played in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in November 2023 but missed the cut. He didn't see the weekend at the five other PGA Tour events he played in that season, either.

"A little bit scrappy today, even yesterday. But I feel like it's closer than it has been," said Hearn, who is considered a veteran member of the PGA Tour having made more than 150 cuts over the course of his career. "There's no reason I can't go and compete and try to get on some of these events.

"There's been a lot of changes to the PGA Tour in the last year or two and it's affected guys in my category a lot. Hopefully I can get a few more starts and try to do something."

Hearn was granted an exemption to play in the Canadian Open, the national men's golf championship, on May 22. It's his 20th appearance in the tournament and he has now made the cut in half of those.

"It means so much for me to play in our national championship, to do it here at Hamilton so close to home," said Hearn. "I had my wife and my kids follow me around, my parents, all my family.

"It was a pretty special week and I get two more days to have a chance to make a few more birdies."

Mackenzie Hughes (64) of Dundas, Ont., is the low Canadian after two rounds, sitting in a tie for fourth at 7 under. Corey Conners (67) of Listowel, Ont., and Edmonton's Wil Bateman (66) were tied for 13th at 4 under.

"I knew I was right there," said Hughes. "I did a great job for most of the day. The finish wasn't what I planned for, but I'm happy with the result."

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., complicated his life by scoring back-to-back 69s to enter a tie for 30th at 2 under.

His caddie Mitchell Theoret is in a wedding party this weekend and won't be able to carry his bag on Saturday. Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Strome was supposed to sub in for Theoret but he's attending the same wedding and with Pendrith's later tee time in the third round he's also not available, leaving Theoret to find a second substitute.

"I didn't really play great today, I hit a couple squirrelly shots, but short game was good and I had a couple of wedges to a couple feet late in the round so that it's always helpful," said Pendrith before heading to the driving range. "I've got to straighten it out a little bit for the weekend but I'm excited."

Ben Silverman (71) of Thornhill, Ont., and Myles Creighton (68) of Digby, N.S., were tied for 42nd at 1 under. Adam Svensson (68) of Surrey, B.C., finished Friday tied with Hearn at even par and made the cut.

A modern-era record of 28 Canadians were in the field at this week's home open, with 20 missing the cut.

"It's a testament to Golf Canada and what they've done to help grow the game," said Pendrith. "All the hard work that they've put into the amateur programs, young pro squad, and there's some other guys who didn't go through that program who are playing great."

Reigning Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., was the biggest name to miss the cut. He ended a 69-year drought for Canadians at the national championship last year at Toronto's Oakdale Golf and Country Club.

Canadian golf Hall of Famer Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., Hamilton's Michael Blair, Jared du Toit of Kimberley, B.C., Toronto's Richard T. Lee, Cam Kellett of London, Ont., Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, Matthew Anderson of Mississauga, Ont., Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., Etienne Papineau of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., Kevin Stinson of Mission, B.C., Vancouver's Jake Lane, Max Sear of Stouffville, Ont., Vancouver's Stuart Macdonald and Marc-Olivier Plasse of Mercier, Que., all missed the cut.

Amateurs Ashton McCulloch of Kingston, Ont., Justin Matthews of Little Britain, Ont., and Jakob Chicoyne of Calgary also had their tournaments end on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2024.