Bradley Leads Canadian Open by 1 at 63

Keegan Bradley wasn’t planning on playing in the RBC Canadian Open this week, but he’s glad he changed his mind after missing the cut in two of his last three starts.

The 32-year-old Bradley posted a bogey-free, 7-under-par 63 to take a one-stroke lead over five players after the first round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“I’m thankful that I did (change my mind), but I want to keep going … and get a little something going,” said Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion. “It hasn’t been quite the year I wanted, but that can change real quick. Every time I come to play in Canada, I love the courses we play.

“I knew if I could just put myself in the fairway, which I did today, I was having short irons in, and I’m pretty dialed in right now. I was able to really get that close and then hole those putts. It was a lot of fun. It was so fun to go out there and feel like that. Today I was in complete control of my ball, and then when you couple that with feeling good on the greens, that’s when a 63 or a good, nice round happens.”

Bradley, who captured the 2018 BMW Championship, made pars on the first six hole before collecting five consecutive birdies and six in the new seven holes.

Nick Taylor led the charge to become the first Canadian to win the tournament since Pat Fletcher in 1954, shot 64 and is tied for second with Shane Lowry of Ireland, Sungjae Im of South Korea, Roberto Castro and Erik van Rooyen of South Africa.

“I wouldn’t say I knew I was going to shoot 6-under today, but I knew my game was there, and if I got things going it was going to be a good day,” said Taylor, whose only pro victory came in the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship.

“I tried to come in this week, I knew I was playing pretty well, and just kind of see the shots and try and hit them. That’s what I’ve been doing,”

Adam Hadwin of Canada totaled 65 and is tied for seventh with Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker Scott Brown, Danny Lee of New Zealand, Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and Russell Henley.

Fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is tied for 25th at 67, while top-ranked Brooks Koepka finished at 70 and is in a tie for 84th that includes sixth-ranked Justin Thomas, and top-ranked Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, opened with a 71 and is tied for 101st.

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