Stanley back in form to contend in Canada

Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:14pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Kyle Stanley has endured a frustrating 2013-14 PGA Tour season with 11 missed cuts in 25 starts but hinted at better things to come as he surged into contention for the Canadian Open in Montreal on Thursday before being overtaken late in the day by Michael Putnam and Tim Petrovic. The 26-year-old American, whose short game has especially let him down this year, produced sparkling form with his putter as he racked up six birdies and a bogey in the opening round to shoot a five-under-par 65 on Royal Montreal's Blue Course.

Though Stanley failed to maintain momentum on his homeward nine after racing to the turn in an electrifying five-under 30, he ended a glorious, sun-splashed day one stroke off the pace set by his compatriots Putnam and Petrovic.

Putnam, a journeyman who has bounced between the PGA Tour and the lower-tier circuits over the past decade, got to six under with four birdies in his last four holes.

He was joined at the top late in the day by Tour veteran Petrovic, who eagled the par-five 12th on the way to a bogey-free 64 at the oldest golf club in North America.

Stanley, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2012 Phoenix Open, was thrilled to see significant improvement in his game around and on the greens after toiling for much of this season.

"I had some nice sand saves to keep the momentum and just kind of kept building on the round," Stanley told PGA Tour Radio after ending the round level with Canadian amateur Taylor Pendrith.

"I've struggled with my short game this year, especially with my putting, so it's nice to see the improvement there.

"It's been a pretty long year so far but I had a nice week off last week, went home to Gig Harbor (in Washington) and kind of re-charged."


Kyle Stanley tees off on the 9th hole during the first round of the RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal GC - Blue Course. Jul 24, 2014; Ile Bizard, Quebec, CAN; Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports