Golf

Piercy races to Canadian Open lead

LOW CANADA
Scott Piercy shoots 62 for a one-shot lead at the Canadian Open.
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ANCASTER, Ontario (AP)

Scott Piercy shot an 8-under 62 on Thursday in the first round of Canadian Open, taking advantage of perfect scoring conditions at rain-softened Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

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Piercy eagled the par-5 fourth and 17th holes and had five birdies and one bogey in the rainy conditions to match the competitive course record set by Warren Sye in the third round of the 1991 Ontario Amateur. The 33-year-old American is coming off a third-place finish two weeks ago in the John Deere Classic.

"Hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens today," Piercy said. "I was rolling the ball well, and obviously you got to make some putts, too. Hit it solid out there. I think I only missed a couple greens, and ball-striking around here with the rough being so penal is a must to shoot well."

He birdied three of his final five holes, punctuated with a 10-foot putt on No. 9.

"The greens were receptive. I wouldn't say overly soft or hard," Piercy said.

Greg Owen and William McGirt were a stroke back, and Robert Garrigus had a 64.

Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters winner, was at 65 along with 2004 Canadian Open champion Vijay Singh, Troy Matteson, Bo Van Pelt, Jhonattan Vegas, Stuart Appleby and Gavin Coles.

The course was a soggy mess by the end of the rainy day. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls on the fairways, and 94 finished at par or better.

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I woke up this morning, I thought the British Open was a week early, looking out the window," Schwartzel said.

Ernie Els, the British Open winner Sunday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, opened with a 72.

Jim Furyk, the winner in 2006 at Hamilton and 2007 at Angus Glen, shot a 70.

Adam Hadwin topped the 23 Canadians in the field, shooting a 66. The 24-year-old player from Abbotsford, British Columbia, tied for fourth last year at Shaughnessy in Vancouver.

"It seems every time we hit the end of July, I kind of springboard my game back into shape," Hadwin said. "I shot 4 under and I was 1 over on the par 5s today. So that's pretty good confidence going into tomorrow knowing that if I play those par 5s pretty well I'm going to play pretty well."

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Slumping Canadian star Mike Weir was tied for 112th after a 72. He's trying to make his first PGA Tour cut of the year.

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.

DIVOTS: Piercy has broken 70 in nine consecutive rounds. ... Owen is bidding to become the first Englishman to win the event since Peter Oosterhuis in 1981. ... George McNeill withdrew after shooting a 75, citing a back injury. ... Despite the rain, there was only one delay, lasting 20 minutes. ... John Daly shot 69. ... Hunter Mahan, a two-time winner this year, opened with a 70.

Tagged: Scott Piercy, Bo Van Pelt

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