OAKVILLE, Ontario – Brendan Steele topped the Canadian Open leader board 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.
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 lone 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 Ive had all year, so that was kind of nice. Didnt miss many greens, didnt hit many shots off line, and I was able to roll a few putts in.
Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner this year, was a stroke back along with Scott Gardiner and Scott Brown. Kuchar eagled the par-5 18th hole, his ninth hole of the day.
Hunter Mahan and David Lingmerth shot 67, and Chez Reavie, the 2008 winner at Glen Abbey, was another stroke back in a group that included Bubba Watson and Trevor Immelman.
SENIOR BRITISH OPEN: In Southport, England, American Gene Sauers shot a 3-under 67 in windy conditions at Royal Birkdale to take the first-round lead.
Germanys Bernhard Langer, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with South Africas David Frost, Australias Peter Senior and the Philippines Frankie Minoza.
At 69 are former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and fellow Americans Gary Hallberg, John Cook and Jeff Hart as well as Australias Peter Fowler.
Defending champion Fred Couples opened with a 74. Only 10 of the 144 players bettered par.
EUROPEAN: In Moscow, Englands Simon Dyson, Swedens Rikard Karlberg and Chinas Liang Wen-chong shot 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead in the Russian Open.