Ancaster, Ontario — Brandt Snedeker’s early record-tying round didn’t stand up to late charges by Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar at the RBC Canadian Open on Friday.
Snedeker fired a 10-under 60 to tie the Canadian Open’s record low score. That was good enough for an early clubhouse lead at 11 under at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
But Kuchar and Brown, playing in the afternoon, went low, too, shooting 7-under 63s and finishing the second round as co-leaders at 12 under.
Brown and Kuchar agreed that Snedeker’s round was a mixed blessing. They said it challenged them to play their best and confirmed that low scores were possible.
“You kind of feel like you have to go out and shoot a good one, and then you kind of feel like there is a good one out there,” Brown said. “So I think the key is just to not get crazy aggressive. I’ve kind of been conservatively aggressive.”
Snedeker and Sweden’s Carl Pettersson are the only players to shoot 60 at the Canadian Open. Pettersson did it at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto at 2010 en route to a victory. Greg Norman also had a round of 10-under 62 at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario, in 1986.
“I’m not scared about going low. I realize these days don’t happen very often,” said Snedeker, who carded a 59 at the Wyndham Championship in August. “Almost get more excited when I feel like it’s going that way.
“More often than not, you’re getting beat up. You have to take advantage of it.”
Most golfers coming off the 6,966-yard, par-70 layout spoke about wrestling with the poa annua greens that were playing exceptionally slow. The hilly course has sloping greens that need to be soft to prevent balls from rolling off.
Snedeker was one of the few able to consistently drain long putts Friday.
“Didn’t help me yesterday. I think I left every putt a foot short yesterday,” said Snedeker, who had a 1-under 69 in the opening round. “I was excited for this morning because I got out here and I knew they would be a little faster and I could still be aggressive, which I felt like needed to be.”
Four Canadians were within four shots of the lead. Nick Taylor was tied with Snedeker for third after a second-round 65, good for 11 under.
Webb Simpson was another stroke back at 10-under after a second-round 64.
Rory McIlroy followed an opening-round 67 with a 4-under 66 and was tied with two others at 7 under.
Brooks Koepka, fresh off his PGA Championship win, followed an opening round 70 with a 4-under 66 and was at 4 under heading into the weekend, along with defending tournament champion Dustin Johnson, the No. 2 players in the world, who followed a 1-over 71 with a 65.
No Canadian has won the national championship since Pat Fletcher in 1954 at Vancouver’s Point Grey Golf and Country Club. Ben Silverman moved up the leaderboard Friday with a 9-under 61, second only to Snedeker. It also was a record for the best round by a Canadian at the championship.
Jeongeun Lee6 got right back to work after winning the U.S. Women’s Open last weekend.
Coming off her first major title, Lee6 shot an 8-under 63 to grab a share of the lead after the opening round in the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Galloway, New Jersey.
“I felt pretty relaxed on the course,” said Lee6, a 23-year-old LPGA Tour rookie from South Korea. “I didn’t feel nervous. I think I did pretty good. I played it just like how I played it last week.”
Lee6 posted an eagle and nine birdies to go along with three bogeys. Her two-putt birdie at her last hole, the par-5 ninth, moved her into a tie for first place with Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand.
Lee6 said she was a little tired when she arrived at the Jersey Shore, but felt it was an advantage that the 54-hole ShopRite enabled her to get another day of rest.
“This tournament is only three rounds and so I got a couple of days off for me,” she said. “Then I’ve been balancing myself to make my physical and mental (condition) be stable. So I’ve just been working on that. And then also the weather was better than last week’s weather.”
It was sunny and breezy at the Bay Course at Seaview for much of the day before turning cloudy and cooler late.
The 29-year-old Phatlum posted seven birdies while playing in the morning on smoother greens. She made a 12-foot eagle putt on her final hole.
“I feel like I got more confident after last week,” said Phatlum, who tied for 16th at the Women’s Open following a 70-70 finish. “I tried to be playing my game and not put pressure on myself, so it makes me more relaxed on the course (with) more good results.”
Lexi Thompson, the top American in the world rankings who tied for second in last week’s Open, shot a 64. She was part of a three-way tie for third with rookies Kristen Gillman and Muni He.
“Last week was tough,” Thompson said. “It’s so intense and such a long week. It’s very draining. Coming here I took two days off and then I just practiced Wednesday and played my 18-hole Pro-Am round (Thursday). It’s working out for me so far.”
Japan’s Ayako Uehara fired a 65. She was the only player to shoot that number.
Eight players were at 5 under, including Angel Yin, who was part of the runner-up group last weekend. Two-time champion Stacy Lewis and crowd favorite Paula Creamer were in a pack at 67.
Defending champion Annie Park fired a 69.
In all, 76 players bettered par, with 45 scores in the 60s.
The tournament offers $1.75 million in prize money, with $262,500 going to the winner.