Move over Pat Fletcher. Nick Taylor became the first Canadian to win the RBC Canadian Open since Fletcher in 1954, rebounding after an opening-round 75 to play the final three rounds in 67, 63 and 66 to win at Oakdale Golf & Country Club. The victory came after an 11-foot right-to-left sweeper fell for birdie at the 18th, followed by a sick up-and-down on the same hole on the first extra hole of a playoff with Tommy Fleetwood to extend overtime. Taylor finally won on the fourth extra hole (also the 18th) with an unbelievable 72-foot eagle putt.

Taylor, who set the course record in the third round, got on a nice run with the putter early, dropping a 10-footer for birdie at the second hole, a 25-footer at the fourth, an 18-footer at the sixth and an 11-footer at the 10th with his TaylorMade Spider Tour Red putter, a club he had in the bag when he won the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

“The putter has a T-line alignment on the red-coloured head,” Taylor told Golf Digest in 2021. “I used the Spider in 2017 and only had a single dot on top. I went away from that and then in 2018 I was struggling on the greens, and I went back to the Spider at Wyndham and shot 63 in the final round to keep my tour card and I’ve used it ever since. The T helped me not only get lined up properly, but in hitting the centre of the face every time. Now that I’m using a line on my ball as well it almost looks like a grid when I look down at it. “

A key shot, however, came at the par-5 12th hole. Coming off a three-putt bogey at the 11th, Taylor’s tee shot found the deep rough, leading many to think a lay-up with an iron was likely. Instead, he reached for his 18-degree TaylorMade SIM2 Max 5-wood and gouged the ball out on a line, scooting it up on the green from 235 metres to 12 feet, setting up an easy two-putt birdie that gave him a two-shot lead.

Still, Taylor’s work was not quite done. Tyrrell Hatton (final-round 64) eventually knotted him then led him by one after Taylor bogeyed the 16th, but Taylor responded at the 17th with a gap wedge to 17 feet and converted the putt to regain a share of the lead before his 18th hole heroics.

Taylor uses a split set of Titleist irons with three different models. “I’ve always been a split set guy,” he told Golf Digest. “I just like having a little bigger head for the longer clubs. Helps get it up in the air with a little more forgiveness while I can control the shorter irons.”

That control showed up on 17 – and many other times during the week – leading to the first Canadian in 69 years to win the event. It was his putter, however, that was the real hero.

What Nick Taylor had in the bag at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (Fujikura Atmos Blue 6 X), 10 degrees

3-wood: Titleist TSi2, 15 degrees

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max, 18 degrees

Hybrid: Titleist TSR2, 21 degrees

Irons (4): Titleist T200; (5-9): Titleist T100; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM8

Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM8 (54 degrees); Titleist Vokey WedgeWorks (58 degrees)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red