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McQuillan, Fritsch Make Presence Known At RBC Canadian Open

Matt McQuillan stares down a tee shot during round one of the 2011 RBC Canadian Open (Photo: Bernard Brault, Golf Canada)

Two Eastern Ontario pros are off to a decent start at Canada’s only PGA Tour event.

Scoring conditions are tough at the Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club for this weeks RBC Canadian Open making the rounds by Matt McQuillan of Kingston and Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ontario all that more impressive.

Coming off the John Deere Classic and the Viking Classic where he was a combined 30 under par for eight rounds, McQuillan continued his strong pace with an opening round of two under par, 68, over the rough-laden Shaughnessy course.

It was enough to catch the attention of The Golf Channel who showed the final three holes of McQuillan’s round and even invited him up to the broadcast booth for a love chat after his round.

“That was nice to see,” his father Mark told Flagstick about the television time for his son.  The elder McQuillan just caught the interview after coming home from his work as an electrician but when reached by phone at home said he planned to watch the recording of the entire round.  His wife Donna and daughter Cortney made the trip to Vancouver this week but pops will have settle with watching the tournament from home.  Hopefully with his son in action on all four days.

His son, understandably. was happy with his first ever Canadian Open round.  “I’m thrilled with today,” he said after his round.  “It’s a real privilege to play in our National Championship.  Just really excited to get off to a good start.”

As for the course and how it played on Thursday, McQuillan recognizes it is a bear.  A couple times during his 68 he found himself in the gnarly rough but managed to come out mostly unscathed.  “It’s very difficult.  We got lucky with the weather today.  There wasn’t much wind, and the greens are soft after the rain last night.  But, yeah, if you’re not hitting it good, it can be a long day.”

Fritsch rebounded from bogeys on his first two holes of the day with birdies on three of his next four holes and managed to get it in the clubhouse at one over par, 71.  It’s does not match the score of 65 that he shot to Monday Qualify, and also shot two days in a row to finish tied for 3rd at the Canadian Tour’s Players Cup in Winnipeg last weekend, but it gives him a chance to get to the weekend and a payday.

The 71 was actually a decent tally when you consider that Fritsch only hit half of his fairways on Thursday and less than half the greens.  If he can straighten out some of his drives (that averaged 300 yards) on Friday he could really make a move up the leaderboard.

As of this story posting Kris Blanks is the leader in the clubhouse at 3 under par with Matt Kuchar and Sean O`Hair also on that number but still with holes to play.