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No pressure on McCann’s shoulders

Brian McCann said there is no “extra pressure” on him as the defending Gosling's Invitational champion.

The Canadian professional claimed a maiden victory in dramatic fashion at last year's event after several near misses.

McCann fired a four-under-par 66 on the final day to come from behind and pip past winner Kirk Hanefeld by one shot at Belmont Hills.

With the proverbial “monkey off his back”, McCann is looking forward to the challenge of defending his title and earning a share of the $65,000 in prize money on offer.

“I've never been in this position before, but it's a good position to be in,” McCann said.

“I really don't think there's any extra pressure being the champion because I come down there trying to win every year. It doesn't add any more pressure and is almost a little bit more exciting knowing I was the champion last year and have the opportunity to do it again this year. I love coming to Bermuda and playing in the tournament every year. I play well every year and always have a chance typically being in the top four or second a bunch of times and it's great.”

The former Nationwide Tour player overcame a slight wobble coming in at the previous event to put an end to a string of near misses.

“It's good getting the monkey off your back when you have finished second three of four times in an eight or nine-year stretch and you finally get a win,” McCann said. “The only thing that would have been better last year was if Craig Marseilles was there. After I won I called him right away and let him now that I won.

“Craig was one of my best friends who unfortunately passed in March of this year to brain cancer. He played in Bermuda as a junior and had been going for 40 years and the reason why all of the regular Canadian players come down was because of him.”

This year's Gosling's Invitational will be played at two different venues for the first time in the event's history.

The opening two rounds will be held at the par-70 Belmont Hills layout, with the remaining 36 holes to be contested at the slightly longer par-71 Port Royal Golf Course.

“This year is going to be a little different obviously with the final two rounds being at Port Royal,” said McCann, who has also won the Bermuda Open.

“The best players are always going to be near the top of the leaderboard. But what Port Royal does is, if someone is ten back going into the final two rounds, and the leaders play well, I don't think you can come back from ten shots because Port Royal is just a difficult golf course.

“I don't see anyone going out shooting 65 or 66 and typically a couple under par at Port Royal would be a very good score.

“I have thought about it, thinking we have to get off to a good start at Belmont and have some good scores to be right in the mix going into the last two days at Port Royal.”

Dwayne Pearman, the former Port Royal head professional, is the previous local player to win the tournament in the early Nineties when it was known as the Belmont Invitational.

The competition runs from November 28 to December 1.

Defending champion: Canadian McCann

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Published November 25, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated November 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm)

No pressure on McCann’s shoulders

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