How it Happened: Mahan moves into Canadian lead

Martin Laird's fiance, Meagan Franks, watches at No. 17 as Laird makes par.

How it Happened: Mahan moves into Canadian lead


How it Happened: Mahan moves into Canadian lead

The lead has been taken from Brendan Steele on Friday at the RBC Canadian Open. Likewise, Matt Kuchar – third in FedEx Cup points with a steady season and sixth in the Official World Golf Rankings – fell back in the field.

Hunter Mahan charged from two shots out of the lead overnight, to a two-shot lead Friday with a 64. John Merrick, already a winner this year, had opened up a four-shot lead in the morning with a 62 to get to 11 under. Yet Mahan, after starting six back of Merrick, was bogey-free and closed with three straight birdies to take over.

Mike Weir carried the Canadian flag well, shooting 67 to rise to 4 under for the week at Glen Abbey.

See second-round scores here.

We’ll keep you posted on the highlights of the second round in Oakville, Ontario – and scroll down for our first-round and preview coverage:

• • •

Update No. 50: 7:34 p.m.

Roger Sloan, having been tied twice during the back nine with Mike Weir as the low Canadian in the field, bogeys No. 8 and pars the last for a second straight 71. Brad Fritsch (2 under) and David Hearn (1 under) are the other two Canadians among the 79 players to make the cut.

• • •

Update No. 49: 6:49 p.m.

Scott Brown, who started the day T-2 with Matt Kuchar and Scott Gardiner, turns in an even-par 72 to remain 6 under and stand T-9 going into the weekend. Brown won the Puerto Rico Open in March. Gardiner, meanwhile, is 1 over through 15 today to slip to 5 under.

• • •

Update No. 48: 6:38 p.m.

Roger Sloan is trying to pass Mike Weir as low Canadian going into the weekend, a birdie at No. 5 tying Sloan with the 2003 Masters champ at 4 under. Sloan, who missed the cut here in 2011, has won $51,573 on the Tour this year.

Defending champ Scott Piercy has quietly made the cut after a pair of 71s got him to 2 under.

• • •

Update No. 47: 6:27 p.m.

Let’s recap the golfers playing this week and ranked in the world’s top 12:

  • Matt Kuchar, No. 6: T-27, 4 under
  • Brandt Snedeker, No. 7: T-16, 5 under
  • Graeme McDowell, No. 8: T-43, 3 under
  • Luke Donald, No. 9: T-79, even par
  • Charl Schwartzel, No. 12: T-63, 1 under

• • •

Update No. 46: 5:59 p.m.

A birdie at the 18th sends Hunter Mahan to the clubhouse with a 64, three shots better than his opening round, and a two-shot lead over John Merrick heading into Saturday. Mahan, an Oklahoma State product, closed with three straight birdies and five in his last eight holes.

Aaron Baddeley birdies at No. 7 to get to 8 under with two to play.

• • •

Update No. 45: 5:51 p.m.

Bubba Watson finishes with three straight pars to head to the clubhouse in third at 9 under, three back as leader Hunter Mahan plays the 18th.

Charl Schwartzel pars his last six holes to end with a 70 that keeps him just inside the projected cut line of 1 under.

• • •

Update No. 44: 5:44 p.m.

Birdieing back to back, Hunter Mahan takes the lead outright with one hole remaining in his day, moving to 12 under at the par-4 17th. Mahan leads John Merrick by one, Bubba Watson by three and Patrick Reed by four.

• • •

Update No. 43: 5:37 p.m.

Dustin Johnson birdies Nos. 14 and 16 to pull within a shot of the projected cut line of 1 under. Chad Campbell, meanwhile, gets to the good side of the line with a birdie at No. 18 for a 72 that has him 1 under.

• • •

Update No. 42: 5:24 p.m.

A birdie after a tight wedge shot on the par-5 16th pulls Hunter Mahan into a tie for the lead with John Merrick at 11 under. Mahan is 6 under during a bogey-free round so far.

• • •

Update No. 41: 5:11 p.m.

Three straight birdies after making the turn bring Aaron Baddeley to 7 under for the week, and he follows with a par at No. 4. Baddeley is T-5 with Tommy Gainey and Scott Gardiner, four back of leader John Merrick.

An eagle at No. 18 as he made the turn looks like the difference for Justin Leonard right now, as he’s 2 under with four to play. Leonard birdie No. 2 and bogeyed No. 3; he’s got some work to do if he’s to play this weekend. Charl Schwartzel has made three straight pars and is 1 under with two to play, barely on the safe side of the cut.

• • •

Update No. 40: 5:05 p.m.

Patrick Reed returns to 8 under with a birdie at No. 7; he’s three off the lead with two to play.

Chad Campbell makes back-to-back birdies at Nos. 15-16 to climb to even par, trying to get inside the cut line of 1 under.

• • •

Update No. 39: 4:58 p.m.

Bubba Watson gains another shot on the lead with a birdie at No. 15, his third in four holes, as he move to 9 under – two back of leader John Merrick with three holes (including two par-5s) to play. Watson is 5 under for the day, one better than his opening-round 68.

• • •

Update No. 38: 4:53 p.m.

Hunter Mahan misses the fairway and the green at No. 14, pitching to about 5 feet and making the putt to scramble for par and remain one back of leader John Merrick.

With four holes to play, Charl Schwartzel is barely inside the cut line after a bogey at No. 4 drops him to 1 under, and he follows with a par.

• • •

Update No. 37: 4:41 p.m.

Two birdies in three holes gets Hunter Mahan within a shot of the lead with five holes to play, including the par-5 16th and 18th. Mahan reached the par-5 13th in two and two-putted to get to 10 under, one back of John Merrick.

David Lingmerth birdies No. 6 to climb back to 8 under with three to play.

• • •

Update No. 36: 4:32 p.m.

Bubba Watson birdies again to break out of the bunch at T-3, moving to 8 under and three back of leader John Merrick. Watson, a Georgia product, has four holes left in his round.

• • •

Update No. 35: 4:21 p.m.

Bogeys by Patrick Reed and David Lingmerth at Nos. 2 and 4, respectively, help create a five-way tie for third at 7 under, four shots back of leader John Merrick. James Driscoll, Tommy Gainey and Bubba Watson also stand on that mark, while Hunter Mahan is two shots ahead at 9 under in second.

• • •

Update No. 34: 4:09 p.m.

Charl Schwartzel has given his chances of making the cut as serious boost – holing out his second shot on the par-5 No. 2 hole for double eagle! The PGA Tour says it’s the fourth in tournament history. That lifts him to 2 under par with seven holes to play, as the cut line still looks like 1 under will play this weekend. Schwartzel also birdied Nos. 16 and 18 before making the turn.

• • •

Update No. 33: 4:04 p.m.

Bubba Watson birdies No. 12 to climb back to 7 under, hitting his tee shot on the par 3 inside 10 feet and making the putt. Watson is four shots back of leader John Merrick.

• • •

Update No. 32: 3:55 p.m.

Hunter Mahan improves his standing with a birdie at No. 11 – and cuts the lead to two as he keeps up his chase of John Merrick. Mahan hit his approach inside 3 feet and made the putt.

• • •

Update No. 31: 3:46 p.m.

Some big names are struggling.

Bubba Watson gave back two shots with back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 7-8, but has steadied himself a bit with two pars around the turn and is still 2 under for the round. Watson is 6 under, T-6 alongside four others, for the tournament – five shots back of leader John Merrick.

First-round leader Brendan Steele bogeyed No. 5 and double-bogeyed No. 7 to slide to 5 under; he’s 2 over for the day.

Matt Kuchar, the highest-ranked player in the field, also is 2 over for the day after three straight bogeys at Nos. 8-10. He’s 4 under for the week.

• • •

Update No. 30: 3:26 p.m.

The projected cut line is at 1 under, which would exclude the likes of Luke Donald (even par), Justin Leonard (even), Charl Schwartzel (1 over) and Dustin Johnson (1 over) as things stand.

• • •

Update No. 29: 3:15 p.m.

Patrick Reed birdies the 18th as he makes the turn to climb to T-2 at 8 under alongside Hunter Mahan – and David Lingmerth, who also birdies 18.

• • •

Update No. 28: 2:45 p.m.

Patrick Reed has scattered three birdies amid seven bogey-free holes to rise to T-3 at 7 under. Reed, an Augusta State product, finished fifth at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

• • •

Update No. 27: 2:36 p.m.

Brendan Steele bogeys No. 7 and Bubba Watson bogeys No. 5 as they slip back to 7 under, four shots behind leader John Merrick.

Hunter Mahan, with back-to-back pars at Nos. 5-6, is alone in second at 8 under. Matt Kuchar, David Lingmerth, Patrick Reed and Tommy Gainey are T-3 with Steele and Watson.

• • •

Update No. 26: 2:19 p.m.

Bubba Watson is making a move today thanks to an eagle at No. 2 and birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 that lift him to 8 under, T-2 and three back of leader John Merrick. Watson shot one of several 68s Thursday.

• • •

Update No. 25: 2:08 p.m.

Matt Kuchar’s first birdie of the day comes on the heels of four straight pars. The Georgia Tech product hits it to about 5 feet at the fifth hole and sinks his putt to move to 7 under and T-4, four shots back of leader John Merrick.

• • •

Update No. 24: 2:02 p.m.

A third straight birdie, this one at the par-3 fourth hole, pushes Hunter Mahan to T-2 at 8 under, alongside first-round leader Brendan Steele and three back of John Merrick.

• • •

Update No. 23: 1:51 p.m.

Hunter Mahan earns his second straight birdie, sinking about a 20-footer at No. 3 to rise to T-3 at 7 under.

• • •

Update No. 22: 1:42 p.m.

Brendan Steele cards his day’s first birdie at No. 2, rising to 8 under and back within three of John Merrick. Steele toured Glen Abbey’s front nine in 4-under-par yesterday, so we’ll see what he can muster today.

• • •

Update No. 21: 1:33 p.m.

Hunter Mahan birdies No. 2 to rise to 6 under, five shots back of leader John Merrick. Mahan started the day two shots back of first-round leader Brendan Steele, who has opened with a par at No. 1.

• • •

Update No. 20: 1:21 p.m.

Matt Kuchar gives himself a birdie chance inside 10 feet at the par-5 second hole, but two-putts for par to remain T-4 at 6 under.

Camilo Villegas birdies the last, making about a 10-footer at the par-4 ninth hole for a 65 that lifts him to T-9 at 5 under.

• • •

Update No. 19: 1:12 p.m.

Camilo Villegas is atoning for an over-par opening round, as three straight birdies at Nos. 5-7 get him to 6 under for the day, 4 under for the tournament. The Florida product also eagled No. 16, his only hole other than par before making the turn.

• • •

Update No. 18: 1:01 p.m.

Matt Kuchar starts his round with a scrambling par at No. 1, chipping to inside a foot. He starts the round five shots back of leader John Merrick.

• • •

Update No. 17: 12:53 p.m.

Senior writer Adam Schupak had this to say about Merrick’s round via his Twitter account, @GolfweekSchupak: “John Merrick tied the Glen Abbey course record w/a 10-under 62. Clubhouse leader at -11 @RBCCanadianOpen. He’s been quiet since win in LA.”

• • •

Update No. 16: 12:42 p.m.

Make it four-shot lead for John Merrick – the Californian birdies the par-5 18th for his third pair of back-to-back birdies on the day. Merrick will sign for a 62 and stand atop the leaderboard at 11 under.

• • •

Update No. 15: 12:38 p.m.

Graeme McDowell pars his final three holes for a 65 that sends him to the clubhouse T-32 at 3 under. McDowell has exemplified the “win or go home” cliche this season, either shining or missing cuts, but seems to have found a middle ground today.

• • •

Update No. 14: 12:24 p.m.

Leader John Merrick hits his approach at the par-4 17th inside 3 feet – and sinks the putt to move to 10 under. He’s three shots ahead of Brendan Steele.

• • •

Update No. 13: 12:12 p.m.

Canadian Mike Weir cards his day’s first bogey at No. 6, as McDowell had, but the 2003 Master champion answers immediately with a birdie at No. 7. Tied for third at 6 under, Weir is 7 under for the day with two holes to play.

• • •

Update No. 12: 12:05 p.m.

Leader John Merrick gives himself a birdie look at the par-5 16th, getting near the green in two then inside 10 feet; the putt doesn’t fall and he walks away with par to remain in the lead at 9 under. Merrick, who won the Northern Trust Open in February, is 8 under today with two holes to play.

• • •

Update No. 11: 11:58 a.m.

Leader John Merrick stretches his margin to two shots with a birdie at the par-3 15th hole. He’s 8 under for the day with two par-5s remaining in his round . . . not exactly a 59 watch, but an impressive move to the lead in any case and the low number for the day so far.

Graeme McDowell’s first bogey of the day come at No. 6, dropping him to 7 under for the round with three to play, 3 under for the tournament.

• • •

Update No. 10: 11:46 a.m.

Mike Weir makes a big move in his country’s Open, with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 4-5 getting him to 7 under for the day, T-3 and 6 under for the tournament. It’s the second time Weir has birdied twice in a row during a bogey-free day, with four holes to play.

• • •

Update No. 9: 11:34 a.m.

Graeme McDowell’s Friday charge continues with three straight birdies at Nos. 2-4 to move to 8 under for the day. After following with a par, McDowell is T-14 and 4 under for the tournament with four holes to play.

• • •

Update No. 8: 11:21 a.m.

John Merrick birdies No. 13 to take the outright lead at 8 under, a shot ahead of first-round leader Brendan Steele. Merrick is 7 under today with five birdies and an eagle. With two par-5s remaining, Merrick has a chance to go considerably lower.

• • •

Update No. 7: 11:11 a.m.

A bogey at No. 7 drops Andres Romero a shot back of the leaders with two holes left to play for him to again catch John Merrick and Brendan Steele. Romero is T-3 alongside Scott Brown, Scott Gardiner and Matt Kuchar, all of whom tee off in the afternoon today.

Charley Hoffman and Gary Woodland bogey at Nos. 5 and 18, respectively, to drop to 5 under and two back of the lead.

• • •

Update No. 6: 10:51 a.m.

Andres Romero pulls into a share of the lead with a birdie at No. 6. The Argentinian is 4 under today in pulling alongside John Merrick and first-round leader Brendan Steele. Four golfers remain a shot back.

• • •

Update No. 5: 10:42 a.m.

Charley Hoffman pulls within a shot of co-leaders John Merrick and Brendan Steele with a birdie at No. 2 and follows with a par at No. 3.

• • •

Update No. 4: 10:29 a.m.

John Merrick birdies No. 11 to tie Brendan Steele in the lead. It’s the second time today Merrick has made back-to-back birdies. At 6 under today, the UCLA product also eagled No. 2 to set the tone for his round.

• • •

Update No. 3: 10:23 a.m.

Also going low early this morning are Mike Weir and Tommy Gainey, both 4 under through eight holes. Weir, a Canadian and former Masters champion, has scattered four birdies while remaining bogey-free. Gainey bogeyed No. 11 and has made five straight birdies on Nos. 13-17.

• • •

Update No. 2: 10:19 a.m.

Graeme McDowell gets under par for the tournament with an eagle-birdie-birdie stretch as he makes the turn – he’s 5 under today as he heads to Glen Abbey’s front nine.

• • •

Update No. 1: 10:14 a.m.

John Merrick, Andres Romero and Gary Woodland pull within a shot of leader Brendan Steele, T-2 alongside Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar. Merrick is 5 under through 10 holes, while Romero and Woodland are 3 under through 12 holes and seven holes respectively.

• • •

Early risers

John Merrick, whose round was as low as 3 under yesterday before settling for a 71, is 4 under today at the turn, T-5 at 5 under. The UCLA product has eagled No. 2 today and birdied Nos. 7-8. Charley Hoffman, Andres Romero and Gary Woodland are all 2 under today to also move to T-5 at 5 under.

Graeme McDowell, fighting to make the cut after an opening-round 76, is 3 under through seven holes.

• • •

Slow starters

Joe Affrunti, who opened with a 68, has bogeyed his first three holes. Ben Kohles and Billy Mayfair also are 3 over and on their front nines.

• • •

Weather conditions

Expect temperatures in the upper 60s with clear skies and light winds as play begins, according to, with highs reaching the mid 70s and winds picking up a bit in the afternoon.

• • •

Thursday’s coverage

5 Things: Steele leads as Kuchar gives chase; Open contestants OK

Brendan Steele birdied seven of 11 holes during his morning round to take the opening-round lead Thursday at the RBC Canadian Open – but he’s got some well-known company not far behind him.

• How it Happened: Steele moves to Canadian Open first-round lead

Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell are among the top-ranked players who made the trip back across the pond for the RBC Canadian Open. But Brendan Steele’s 65 put them in his rear-view mirror Thursday as he took the lead at Glen Abbey. See how the first round unfolded.

• • •

Preview coverage

Fantasy Tip Sheet: Snedeker, Kuchar lead picks

Normally, the week after a major is calm. That isn’t the case this week at the RBC Canadian, with the likes of Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson in the field. Yet, none of those names register as favorites this week in Canada.

Tee times led by big groups for first and second rounds

Another week, another country for PGA Tour golfers as they return from Scotland to the RBC Canadian Open, led by Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell as some of the top-ranked golfers in the field’s tee times.

Nova Scotia’s Banks among 3 Canadians to Monday-qualify

As if we didn’t already know his heart was healthy again, Canadian Eric Banks, who plays for the University of Florida, won a playoff to become one of three natives to Monday-qualify for this week’s RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour.

• • •

Open Championship perspective

Hate to be Rude: Mickelson cracks top-10 all-time

Phil Mickelson’s remarkable Open Championship victory moves him up to a new level historically. Given a record of 42 Tour victories that includes five major-championship titles, one can sensibly say the left-hander is now one of the 10 best players in modern golf history, columnist Jeff Rude writes.

Mickelson’s nearly a decade removed from label of best to never win a major

The 2003 PGA Championship, in which Shaun Micheel was the surprise winner, marked the last time Phil Mickelson walked away from a major never having won one.



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