Matt Kuchar and Scott Brown are tied for the lead midway through the RBC Canadian Open, but Brandt Snedeker made the big news.
Snedeker carded a flawless 10-under 60 and is tied for third with Nick Taylor of Canada, one stroke behind Kuchar and Brown at Hamilton Golf and Country Club www.hgcc.ca in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Sneds highlighted his round with a 20-foot eagle putt on the fourth hole and collected eight birdies in becoming the fourth player to shoot 60 on the Canadian Open.
“When I did it at Wyndham I wasn’t feeling very good about my game at all; today I was feeling good,” said Snedeker, who opened with a 59 en route to winning the Wyndham Championship last year. “I knew I could get something going early, make a putt early, I was rolling it really good on the putting green so I felt like I was there. You get one those days every once in a while, and so I did the best I could taking advantage of it. I tried to make sure I made every putt today.
“I made a small adjustment in my setup this week and it kind of clicked and felt great on the range. I think I missed one fairway with my driver, and you do that around here you’re going to set yourself up for success. I just kept feeding on it, feeding on it, didn’t really think about (the score) too much until … 17 is the first time kind of popped in my head. Like, ‘oh, if I finish birdie-birdie I can shoot 59 again.’”
Kuchar birdied his last three holes to shoot a 63 that included a lone bogey at the seventh hole, while Brown had five straight birdies on the front nine and sank an unlikely 60-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole in his own 63.
Brown and Kuchar, who opened with 65s, set a tournament record of 12-under 128.
“There’s definitely a stress level (on this course),” said Kuchar, who has two victories and two runner-up finishes this season to lead the FedEx Cup standings. “This place, if you get off-line, if you’re in the rough, if you miss greens, they’re tricky up-and-downs, tricky par saves. I’ve done a good job of kind of managing and giving myself some good chances.”
Said Brown, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2013 Puerto Rico Open: “Just a lot of good iron shots. Kind of was feeling it with the irons and had a lot of good looks for birdies most of them.”
Taylor birdied three of the last four holes to post a 65 and tie Snedeker for third, while Webb Simpson is two shots back in fifth after a 64, followed one more behind by Adam Hadwin of Canada, who chipped in from 61 feet for an eagle on the fifth hole and sank a 10-foot eagle putt on the 17th in a 66.
Mackenzie Hughes of Canada totaled also 66 and is four down in a tie for seventh with Henrik Stenson (66) of Sweden, Graeme McDowell (67) of Northern Ireland, Ben Silverman (61) of Canada, Shane Lowry (68) of Ireland and Sungjae Im (68) of South Korea.
Fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shot 66 and is tied for 13th, sixth-ranked Justin Thomas is tied for 25th after a 65, top-ranked Brooks Koepka totaled 66 to finish in a tie for 33rd that included top-ranked Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, who came in at 65.
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