The Twenty: Who Are The Canadians Playing in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open?

Hole #1, St. George's Golf & Country Club (Photo: Scott MacLeod)

It’s a big week for golf in Canada. After three long years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RBC Canadian Open has returned.

The third oldest open golf championship in the world (est. 1904) is playing out at the St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Etobicoke, Ontario. Home fans will have plenty to be excited about (and follow, if they are on the grounds) as a star-studded field also includes twenty Canadians. That is one shy of the expected total after Taylor Pendrith withdrew earlier this week due to continuing struggles with a rib injury.

Here is a breakdown of all twenty Canadians, what they bring heading into the event, and how their games may stand up to the historic Stanley Thompson course noted as one of the best in the nation.

Corey Conners

The Listowel, Ontario-raised pro is the highest ranked among the Canadians, currently #31 in the OWGR. He also said on Tuesday that he is “the most excited I have been to play in a tournament in a long while.”

That bodes well for Conners who is looking extra fit and is coming off a share of 13th place at The Memorial. There are a lot of similarities between Muirfield Village and St. George’s in the style of course that also plays in Conners’ hands. With the rough extra thick and moistened by heavy Tuesday rains, his combination of being 27th in fairways hit on the PGA TOUR and 4th in greens in regulations will be major arrows in his quiver this week.

Mackenzie Hughes

Hughes has dropped slightly in world rankings since the end of last year (39th to 77th) but he’s no slouch when it comes to assessing him as a world-class talent.

As always, the putter is never an issue for Hughes who will likely feel comfortable on the greens at St. George’s that were renovated less than a decade ago. They serve up more opportunities that the previous surfaces, with less undulations but speeds (12.5 feet) more in line with Tour expectations from week-to-week.

Hughes proved in 2019 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club that the home stage is not something he fears. he opened with 66-66 there on his way to tie for 14th place. It followed a t-8 in 2018.

Adam Hadwin

Abbotsford, B.C.’s Adam Hadwin has been surging this year; his consecutive top-ten finishes at THE PLAYERS, Valspar Championship, and Valero Texas Open show he is in touch with his peak abilities. He also has his first ace on tour last week on his way to a t-18 at The Memorial.

He also come into play at St. George’s with affirmative memories from the last time it played host; he was the low Canadian in 2010, securing the Rivermead Trophy in the process.

Adam Svensson

Look for Svensson on the leaderboard on day one as he’s generally a strong starter. Svensson is coming off three made cuts but also has fill-in caddy this week. Fellow Canadian Dale Vallely, the former caddy for Abraham Ancer, is on the bag. He’ll be looking to improve on the missed cut in the 2019 RBC Canadian Open.

Nick Taylor

The two-time TOUR win has been in a bit of a lull of late with three missed cuts in the last five starts. In the midst of that there was the spark of a T-15 at the Wells Fargo Championship. At 113th in the FedEx Cup, Taylor needs a spark and visit to play in his homeland may be just what he needs to round his season into form.

Aaron Cockerill

Manitoba golfer Cockerill is fresh in the field from Europe as a sponsor’s exemptions. He’s playing his first PGA TOUR event and has all the skills to excel. He has two finished inside the top three this year on the DP World Tour and said on Tuesday that he really enjoyed his first look of the golf course when he dropped in for a practice round last week. A great dark horse pick.

Roger Sloan

Sloan’s ball striking looked pretty tidy when we caught up with him this week at the practice for the week, the Islington Golf Club. It certainly did not give any indication that Sloan has missed his last three cuts and had made just four this year on the PGA TOUR. Sloan is holding this together with his play around the greens this season but is in the negative strokes gained for many major statistical categories.

Michael Gligic (Editor’s Note: Gligic withdrew after 10 holes of the opening round)

The Burlington, Ontario golfer is feeling fresh after an early arrival in Canada to spend some time with family. Prior to the that he has three made cuts and was working very hard on his game with Coach Gareth Raflewski on Tuesday. That’s the right focus as his putting stats this year have been languishing below his normal ability. Trying to make his first cut in his 5th RBC Canadian Open.

Mike Weir

The veteran was a late addition to the field and is coming of some very good recent play on the PGA TOUR Champions. The 8-time PGA TOUR winner is not here to be a ceremonial figure; he spent an ample amount of time with Coach Mark Blackburn early in the week, trying to clean up some things to help him compete with the junior crowd on home soil.

David Hearn

Hearn is making just his 5th PGA TOUR start of 2022 this week; he has been supplementing his schedule with events on the Korn Ferry Tour. With just one round in the 60s on the big tour this season, and one made cut, there is not a lot to gamble on with the veteran player. He posted rounds of 72-70 here in 2010 on his way to a missed cut.

Stuart MacDonald

Purdue grad MacDonald is one of the two Canadians who play full-time on the Korn Ferry Tour who were given a pass into the big show this week. He has dropped more than 100 spots in the World Golf Ranking this year but the 27-year-old had three rounds in the 60s during his last start, setting up some promise for this week.

Albin Choi

Caddy no more. Choi had a well-publicized recent break from playing to caddy and make some cash but since his return to inside the ropes, he looks renewed. The 30 year-old has a very well-rounded game and his hoping to make his 2nd cut made in an RBC Canadian Open. The last came in 2012.

Myles Creighton

The Golf Canada Young Pro player has been plying his trade on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and is currently 30th in their points standings. While he missed the cut in his last event, he has a tie for 3rd the week prior. The young Nova Scotian is making his 1st PGA Tour start.

Jared du Toit

The 27 year-old Calgarian missed the cut last week on PGA TOUR Canada but hopes to rekindle his positive history with the RBC Canadian Open. That includes a t-9 showing in 2016. He Monday qualified for the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.

Max Sekulic

The 2021 Canadian Men’s Amateur champion was in early to check out the golf course at St. George’s. The Rycroft, Alberta native is currently the 429th ranked amateur in the world.

Wes Heffernan

This will be the PGA of Canada member’s 9th appearance on the PGA TOUR but his first in 11 years. While he spends his days fixing backswings these days, he has continued to be a fine player in the club professional circuit. He makes birdies in bunches and will likely look more comfortable on the course that most home pros ever would.

Callum Davison

The top player from the PGA TOUR Canada circuit in 2021 had a recent lengthy break from the game to deal with injuries but returned to Canada last week to play on Vancouver Island, where he is from. The cross-handed golfer will shock some people with his ability to play but clearly had some rust issues as he missed the cut handily in British Columbia.

Brendan Leonard

Making his first PGA TOUR which is always a nervy situation but he has continued to prove himself on a variety of mini-tour circuits and qualifiers with low rounds, Should have a big fan base in from Cambridge this week and just might the Canadian who sneaks up and puts on a show.

A.J. Ewart (amateur)

The recent winner of the NCAA Division II Jack Nicklaus Award as the Player of the Year, Ewart did just about nothing win this past college season at Barry University. Most would say he is supposed to be here for the experience this week, but he’ll be seeking more.

Johnny Travale (amateur)

With golf swing that that is both fast and sound, Travale will be a fun watch for those who take the time to see him in action. When we caught up to him on Tuesday he was pulling off an enticing combination of high-towering drives and deft shots around the green. The 21 year-old Stoney Creek, Ontario is one to watch.

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