Victoria's Kevin Carrigan ready for another PGA test

Kevin Carrigan hopes to take what he learned at last year’s RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey and apply it to his second straight appearance at the PGA Tour event at Royal Montreal Golf Club this week.

“I was taken aback by the whole experience,” the member of Royal Colwood said of his rounds of 77 and 73, which missed the cut last season. “It’s tough to get focused when you’re watching 10 other guys hit range balls before you hit a single shot on the range.

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“That’s not how you get focused. Now that I’ve seen what it’s like and I know what I can expect, I’m hoping I can find some focus and get into a zone.”

Having earned his second straight appearance at the prestigious tournament as the Canadian Mid-Amateur champion, Carrigan tees it up today and Friday in the $1,026,000 event in a group with Miguel Angel Carballo and Kevin Tway.

“It’s going to be the best experience of my life, again,” Carrigan said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it.

“It’s world class,” he said of his PGA Tour experiences, playing as an amateur. “You understand why people want to play professionally when you go out to events like that — first-class treatment.

“They do whatever they can for you. There are a half-a-million people watching you. Kids running up to you asking for autographs, the whole experience is great, and free food,” he said with a chuckle. “There are thousands of volunteers and they’re all there to help you and you’re surrounded by guys you’ve been watching play golf your entire life.”

Carrigan, one of 19 Canadians in the field, had a chance to play in the Pro-Am on Monday, then practiced on Tuesday with a chance to play a few more holes on Wednesday.

Royal Montreal, a par 70 course that stretches to 7,153 yards, is nothing new to the Victoria golfer, having had a chance to play the course back in 2009 when he was at the Canadian Amateur at Club de golf Le Blainvillier. Being a member at Royal Colwood, he had reciprocal playing privileges at Royal Montreal.

Former Colwood head pro Bob Hogarth was at Royal Montreal at the time, but has since retired.

“I would say he welcomed me back then, but he really just told me if I messed around like I did at Colwood, he would kick me out of there, ‘But say hello to your dad,’ ” Carrigan said with another chuckle.

“It’s an awesome course — pretty typical of east coast golf in that it’s a relatively tree-lined course that tests you with long rough and firm greens.

“At Royal Montreal, there’s a lot of the holes that look pretty similar. There’s not a lot of undulation change, but it’s a beautiful golf course and a beautiful facility,” said Carrigan.

“It’s a lot like Gorge Vale, up and down, and one of the biggest challenges is getting the right distance to the holes where you’re up or down 30-foot slopes.”

The 28-year-old financial consultant looks forward to the challenge.

“The goal is let’s make the cut and then re-set our goals,” he said of the four round event, that will be reduced to the low 70 players and ties after two rounds.

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

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