Thursday, November 27, 2014

Canadian amateur stroke off lead

MONTREAL—Michael Putnam and Tim Petrovic mastered the afternoon winds to shoot six-under-par 64s and take a share of the first-round lead at the $5.7 million (U.S.) RBC Canadian Open yesterday.
But the surprise of the day was big-hitting amateur Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., who shot five-under 65 for a share of third place with Kyle Stanley.

Putnam and Petrovic played bogey-free golf at the 7,153-yard, par-70 Blue Course at Royal Montreal on a near perfect day for scoring, with sunny weather and soft greens from heavy rains the previous day.
A gusty wind came in for those with afternoon starts but it didn’t stop Putnam or Petrovic from shooting the lowest scores of the day, which set the course record for an opening round.
“It was tough ball-striking, but somehow I was able to keep it in the fairway and take advantage of the soft greens to hit a couple of shots close and make a couple of five- to 10-foot putts,” noted Putnam, who has been playing his best golf of the season of late with top-35 finishes in his last three outings.
The 47-year-old Petrovic, meanwhile, didn’t know he would play until he got a call on Tuesday saying he was in as the seventh alternate.
The former PGA Tour regular—playing only his eighth Tour event this season—didn’t even have his name on the program.
There was no rust in his game, however.
“I didn’t set my expectations high because I got in late, so this was kind of my practice round,” said Petrovic.
“I walked the back nine [Wednesday].
“It wasn’t that I played conservative,” he added. “I was just trying to hit fairways and greens, trying to see the golf course and see if I could make a few putts.
“I drove the ball pretty good overall.”
There were 11 players tied at four-under 66, including Nick Watney and Charl Schwartzel, and another 16 at three-under 67, including David Hearn of Brantford, Ont. and two-time Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk.
Another dozen were at two-under 68 and there were 23 at one-under 69, including top-ranked Canadian Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask. and defending champ Brandt Snedeker.
Another sunny day is forecast for the second round today, with a possibility of wet weather on the weekend.
The 23-year-old Pendrith—Canada’s top amateur—had a dream day in his first round of his first Canadian Open.
He recently graduated from Kent State University and hopes to play in the world amateur championships this summer before likely turning pro in the fall.
Although it’s early, he’s one stroke off the lead of a tournament no Canadian has won since Pat Fletcher back in 1954.
“I never expected that,” admitted Pendrith.
“I was playing good golf coming in here, so I just played golf,” he noted.
It was a rough opening round for some. Both Stephen Ames of Calgary and one of the tournament favourites, Dustin Johnson, shot four-over 74 yesterday.
John Daly had a 76, Scott McCarron turned in a 78, and Erik Compton shot 79.

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