Brendan Steele leads Canadian Open
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Brendan Steele topped the Canadian Open leaderboard Thursday at 7-under 65, birdieing five of the first seven holes on his back nine at Glen Abbey.
"I love being up here," Steele said. "I played in `06 and `07 on PGA Tour Canada now. And really, got me ready to play the Nationwide Tour, which I played in `08, `09 and `10. It was a great progression in my life. I had a great time up here. Made a lot of friends and spent two summers traveling the country."
1. Steele (-7)
T-2. Brown (-6)
T-2. Kuchar (-6)
T-2. Gardiner (-6)
T-5. Lingmerth (-5)
T-5. Mahan (-5)
The 30-year-old American had eight birdies and a bogey, dropping a shot on his final hole -- the par-4 ninth. He won the 2011 Texas Open for his long PGA Tour title.
"Really, just an overall good day," Steele said. "Hit a lot of good shots and was able to hole some putts. When you have a good round like that and you play that well, you kind of have everything going. But today was probably the most complete round that I've had all year, so that was kind of nice. Didn't miss many greens, didn't hit many shots off line, and I was able to roll a few putts in."
"It was fun to be out here. It was perfect conditions," Kuchar said. "I feel like last week, conditions were so challenging and so difficult at the British Open, to come here and to play golf that is more friendly and more what we're used to the PGA Tour was great.
"The conditions are spectacular. The course is in great shape. We had very little wind, good temperature, so it was a great opportunity. The par 5s are all attainable and birdieable."
Gardiner was tied for the lead after eagleing the par-3 15th hole, but he bogeyed on the next hole.
"Actually, didn't hit that bad a drive on 16, and went left and got stuck behind a tree and had to lay up," Gardiner said. "And then I hit a pretty good. I missed a 4-foot putt."
"Gave myself a lot of good looks and the greens were rolling true," Mahan said. "It's in great shape right now. In the morning, we'll have perfect conditions."
Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner, taking the 1954 event at Point Grey in Vancouver. Carl Keffer is the only Canadian-born champion, winning in 1909 and 1914. Albert Murray, a Canadian also born in England, won in 1908 and 1913.
Fritsch birdied his final three holes.
"I think I hit less than 50 percent of the fairways, but I think that's just the nature of this golf course," Fritsch said. "I looked like I got some horrendous bounces. When I was expecting one way, it went the other, and that led to a little bit of frustration. But I stayed patient."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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