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PGA Tour 6th alternate grabs RBC Canadian Open co-lead despite wild travel delays

Panicked Sean O’Hare was left stranded in Lubbock, Texas, on Tuesday due to weather delays.

He had just received a call from the PGA Tour, where officials had informed him he had qualified for the RBC Canadian Open. After several other tour pros withdrew, he had moved up on the alternate list and ultimately qualified for the tournament. So the tour felt obligated to tell O’Hair he needed to head to Canada.

O’Hair, a Lubbock resident, is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, most recently winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2011. But after not being able to catch a flight from his hometown all day Tuesday, he hopped in his car first thing Wednesday morning and drove five hours to Dallas, where a flight to Canada was waiting.

He ended up arriving in Hamilton by Wednesday evening, but didn’t have time to play a practice round before his Thursday morning tee time.

But that didn’t matter.

O’Hare shot a 7-under 63 in his opening round and is tied with Sam Burns at the top of the leaderboard after 18 holes.

“I was fortunate to be here, I was exhausted,” O’Hare said after the game.

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

“I was so tired today that I was fuzzy, but I managed.”

That was certainly true.

O’Hare putted well, scoring five birdies in the first 12 holes, then drilled a 27-footer on the final par-5, 17th hole for eagle at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.

“It’s a pretty tight driving hole, so I took my driver out of the bunker and just hit it right back,” O’Hare said of the 17th hole.

“Then I hit a good shot with my 5-wood into the middle of the green. It was up a hill so I was able to be aggressive with the eagle putt. It curved a little bit to the right and went right. It was good.”

O’Hare, like Rory McIlroy, played the course without any prior knowledge, but his caddie arrived earlier in the week and walked the course multiple times.

“There wasn’t really much of a game plan. I left the game plan to him and he just guided me today,” O’Hare said.

“I trust him to do that. He does a great job of plotting a course for me. I just trusted him today and it worked.”

O’Hare admitted that despite relying heavily on the loop, it still caused him discomfort.

“I like to be prepared, but I didn’t have a choice. I think it almost hurts you to make a big deal out of it when you really don’t have a choice,” O’Hare said.

“I just said, ‘Look, I’m not expecting much today.’ I wasn’t playing that well either, so to come out here and score like I did today was definitely a shock for me. I guess I just have to hang in there as best I can.”

O’Hair will finally have time to settle in on Thursday afternoon, but as the last man standing he will rest happy knowing his name is at the top of the leaderboard.

Hopefully, for his own sake, he can keep it up over the next 54 holes.

Jack Mirko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation Playing Through. Follow For more golf articles, follow us on Twitter Jack Mirko In the same way.