Friday's golf: Flores leads, Kuchar rallies at Canadian Open
Oakville, Ontario — Matt Kuchar rallied to make the cut in the RBC Canadian Open on Friday, a day after fighting dizzy spells.
Coming off a second-place finish Sunday in the British Open, Kuchar shot a 4-under 68 to reach 5 under — leaving him seven strokes behind second-round leader Martin Flores at Glen Abbey.
On Thursday, Kuchar had a couple of dizzy spell and sought medical attention during the round.
“I’m still tired,” the RBC endorser said. “The last two weeks I’ve played some good golf. Certainly last week, being in contention, is draining and another busy week this week.”
After making a double bogey on the No. 10 to drop to 1 over for the tournament, Kuchar made a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th and closed with three straight birdies.
“I really needed some good golf coming in to make the cut,” Kuchar said. “I was really pleased to come through.”
Flores shot his second straight 6-under 66 on the rain-softened course.
“The course is perfect,” said Flores, winless on the PGA Tour. “But it is a little soft right now, especially coming into the greens as compared to previous years. So the birdies are going to be out there for sure. Unless the wind picks up, but I think it’s very gettable.”
He eagled the par-5 second for the second day in a row.
“I hit a great drive,” Flores said. “I had about 185 yards. Hit a nice 7-iron to 15, 20 feet and made the putt. That was a bonus.”
Gary Woodland (63), Matt Every (68) and Brandon Hagy (68) were a stroke back at 11 under. Woodland was a stroke off the course record of 62 set by Leonard Thompson in 1981
“I just had everything clicking today,” Woodland said. “I’ve been playing well for a long time and just haven’t put all the aspects together. Today I drove it well. Obviously, the ball-striking was good and I saw some putts go in, and that adds up to a pretty good number.”
Vijay Singh, at 54 the oldest player in the field, had a 68 to join Kevin Chappell (69), Ryan Ruffels (67), Charley Hoffman (66) and Harold Varner III (65) at 10 under.
“If I turn up at a golf tournament and know that I can’t win, I might as well go home,” Singh said. “I just have to work hard and bring it to the golf course. Otherwise, might as well not show up. So that’s what I’m doing.”
Singh won the 2004 tournament at Glen Abbey, beating Canadian Mike Weir in a playoff.
“I’ve come here a lot of times,” Singh said. “I’ve played this golf course many a times. Pretty familiar with what the golf course gives you.”
Defending champion Jhonattan Vegas was 9 under after a 69.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson shot 69 to reach 8 under. Graham DeLaet (68) and Mackenzie Hughes (69) were the only two of the 17 Canadians to make the cut, also completing 36 holes at 8 under.
“I wish there were 17 Canadians 8 under or better,” Hughes said. “It would have been really fun to get a bunch of guys in the mix, but yeah, it’s nice to have Graham in there and not to be the Lone Ranger going out there on the weekend.”
Bubba Watson matched playing partner Kuchar at 5 under, following an opening 66 with a 73.
Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland) and Ryan Brehm (Mount Pleasant/Michigan State) both missed the cut, at 1 under and even-par, respectively.
Senior British Open
At Bridgend, Wales, Bernhard Langer shot a 3-under 74 in rain and wind at Royal Porthcawl to hold onto a share of the Senior British Open lead.
The 59-year-old German star was tied at 1 over with Americans Tom Lehman (72), Steve Flesch (71) and Billy Mayfair (72) and Argentina’s Mauricio Molina (73). American Dennis Clark (72) was 2 over.
Periods of steady rain and wind gusting over 35 mph sent the scores soaring, with the average score of 78.515 second only in tournament history to the 80.118 in 2005 in the first round at Royal Aberdeen. The 36-hole cut came at 13 over, second since the tournament became a PGA Tour Champions event to the 15 over in 2005.
Langer won by 13 strokes the last time the tournament was held on the south Wales course, finishing at 18 under in 2014. He also won the 2010 event at Carnoustie.
Tom Watson was tied for 20th at 7 over after a 77. The 67-year-old American has won the event three times after winning the British Open five times. John Daly was tied for 45th at 10 over after an 80.
At Irvine, Scotland, Cristie Kerr birdied three of the last six holes in strong wind at Dundonald Links for a 1-over 73 and a one-stroke lead in the Ladies Scottish Open.
Kerr played the first 11 holes in 4 over, with a double bogey on the par-5 third and bogeys on Nos. 6 and 11. The 39-year-old American had a 5-under 139 total. She won the LOTTE Championship in April in Hawaii for her 19th LPGA Tour title.
Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, a stroke ahead of Kerr after a first-round 65, shot a 75 to drop to second.
The 42-year-old Australian star had a double bogey, four bogeys and three pars.
South Koreans Sun Young Yoo (69) and Sei Young Kim (72) were tied for third at 3 under.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open is next week at Kingsbarns.
At Hamburg, Germany, Ashley Chesters carded a 5-under 67 to take the lead at 9-under in the second round of the European Open, which was suspended due to failing light.
The 27-year-old, who also had a bogey-free round on the opening day, was tied with fellow Englishman Jordan Smith at 8-under when play was halted due to a heavy downpour.
Smith missed his last 11-foot par putt on the ninth hole when play resumed almost four hours later, while Chesters shot his fifth birdie to take sole leadership.
Siddikur Rahman carded a 66 and was one stroke behind Chesters, along with defending champion Alexander Levy, Stuart Manley, and Richard McEvoy, who all have to complete their second rounds on Saturday morning.
Jens Fahrbring was level with Smith at 7-under.
U.S. Girls' Junior
At Augusta, Missouri, Erica Shepherd and Jennifer Chang each won two matches Friday at Boone Valley to advance to the US Girls’ Junior final.
The 16-year-old Shepherd, from Greenwood, Indiana, beat Youngin Chun of Gainesville, Florida 3 and 1 in the quarterfinals, and rallied to edge Elizabeth Moon of Forrest City, Arkansas, in 19 holes in the semifinals. The left-hander has verbally committed to attend Duke in 2019.
The 17-year-old Chang, from Cary, North Carolina, beat Calista Reyes of San Diego 4 and 2 in the quarterfinals, and topped Taylor Roberts of Parkland, Florida, 5 and 4 in the semifinals. Chang has verbally committed to attend Southern California in the fall of 2018.