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MacIntyre holds off Griffin to win Canadian Open

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HAMILTON — Robert MacIntyre could not have won the RBC Canadian Open without his father.

Not just because Dougie — pronounced Doogie — was his caddie for the week, but because he taught the younger MacIntyre how to play the game itself and sacrificed to give his son an opportunity to pursue his golf dreams.

"Everything that I've done in my life has been with the support of my family," said MacIntyre with the Canadian Open trophy sitting beside him. "We used to go out every night in the summer, no matter the weather, we would play four holes every night."

In addition to raising their son and two daughters, the MacIntyres also took on foster children in Oban, U.K. Robert MacIntyre said his parents' personal and financial sacrifices have given him invaluable perspective in his career.

"I think it makes you realize that hitting a white ball around a golf course isn't the most important thing," said MacIntyre. "I mean, I've been in tears over it, kids going away from you. They become family.

"I couldn't play in golf tournaments as a junior because we couldn't afford it. I think that made me, that makes me, fight and never give up."

MacIntyre started Sunday with a four-shot lead and, despite three bogeys on the day, finished with a 2-under 68 round, 16-under overall, for his first-ever PGA Tour victory. His up-and-down day opened the door to several challengers, with Ben Griffin of the United States coming closest.

Despite briefly losing the lead a few times on Sunday, MacIntyre said he paid no mind to the leaderboard.

"You got to stay focused, and I think I done a good job of that," he said. "A couple of the crowd started getting a bit rowdy, and I'm sure one got thrown out, with some of the things that he was saying, but, look, it was just, I was focused on doing a job and I done that."

Griffin shot a 5-under 65 to finish a shot behind MacIntyre for second. Griffin said he fought hard but things wouldn't go his way.

"It felt like there was a lid on the cup for most of the day for me," said Griffin. "I hit so many pretty good putts, I wouldn't say like striped putts, but pretty good putts and just kept burning edges — a couple bad putts — but stayed patient."

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., shot a 5-under 65 to finish 12-under overall for sole possession of sixth. It was his second time winning the Rivermead Cup, the trophy for the lowest Canadian at the national championship.

When Conners finished his round he pulled the 18th pin out of its hole and waved the Canadian flag to the delight of the fans surrounding the green at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

"The Canadian fans, they come out in full support year after year and it's an incredible feeling being out there, getting cheered on by all the fans," said Conners. "I definitely felt the love.

"I thought it was pretty cool, because I'm a proud Canadian, just to wave the Canadian flag one more time."

Mackenzie Hughes, from nearby Dundas, Ont., was Canada's best hope of winning the title after starting the day tied for second. He had three consecutive birdies on Nos. 2 through 4 as MacIntyre bogeyed his first hole for a brief stay atop the leaderboard.

Ultimately, Hughes had an even-par round to drop down into a tie for seventh at 7 under.

"I had a good idea that in the first five or six holes that I had gotten myself right in the mix," said Hughes. "I saw Robert hadn't got off to the fastest start, so I knew I was kind of right there."

Hughes, Griffin and American Maverick McNealy all did well enough in Hamilton to qualify for the British Open on July 24 at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2024.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf