J.C. Deacon returns to the links today, this time as a player instead of a coach.
The 36-year-old played professionally on the Gateway Tour and Canadian Tour before becoming an assistant coach at UNLV, his alma mater, in 2011. In the summer of 2014, he took over as coach for the Florida men’s golf team, a position he still holds today.
Now, Deacon will make his PGA Tour debut after his score of even par in the qualifying round on Monday earned him the final spot at the 2019 RBC Canadian Open in Ancaster, Ontario.
The RBC Canadian Open will take place at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club for the first time since 2012 and sixth time overall.
Several top-ranked players will be among those vying for the tournament’s $7.6 million purse, including No. 1 Brooks Koepka, No. 2 Dustin Johnson and No. 4 Rory McIlroy.
Although the event consists of four rounds of stroke play from Thursday to Sunday, not every golfer will have the chance to complete the 72-hole event. Only the 70 golfers (out of 156) with the lowest scores after the second round make the cut and advance to the third round.
Deacon was a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur in 2005 and clinched two Minor League Golf Tour titles in 2007.
The Toronto native played in 35 events over a three-year span (2008-10) on the Canadian Tour, making the cut in 17. His fourth-place showing at the 2008 Saskatchewan Open was his best finish in that competition. Deacon also has a 2017 Florida Open victory on his resume. That event is open to both professionals and amateurs.
It has been 65 years since a Canadian-born player has won the RBC Canadian Open. Mike Weir came close in 2004 but fell to Vijay Singh in a playoff. In 2015, David Hearn was atop the leaderboard with just two holes remaining. However, he finished in third place with a score of 15 under behind Jason Day (-17) and Bubba Watson (-16).
Deacon has been grouped with Martin Piller and Zach Bauchou for the event. They will tee off on the front nine at 8:50 a.m. today.
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_. Contact him at [email protected].