OAKVILLE, Ont (Reuters) - American Robert Garrigus got the Canadian Open off to a blazing start, carding five straight birdies from the second hole on the way to an error-free nine-under 63 to sit top of the leaderboard of the weather-hit first round of the Canadian Open on Thursday.
Among the first to tee off, Garrigus took full advantage of ideal scoring conditions to attack a defenseless Glen Abbey and set the target no-one could better on a wild day interrupted twice by thunderstorms, the second halting play with 55 golfers still out on the course.
As good as Garrigus’s round was, the 40-year-old American said it could have been better, even historic, believing that with a bit more luck he could have flirted with a 59.
Instead Garrigus’s brilliant round added up to no more than a one-shot clubhouse lead over Adam Schenk, who birdied his closing three holes, while fellow American Chris Stroud lurked one shot further back by finishing with four straight birdies.
“Could have been 59-watch there if a couple of putts didn’t lip out,” said Garrigus, who has just one top-10 result this season and missed the cut in 11 of 24 starts.
“Lipped out on 10, I had a lip out on 17. Got lucky on the par five 13th, hit right into the middle of the water and hit a rock and bounced over the thing and I made a birdie.”
World number one Dustin Johnson, looking to bounce back after his first missed cut this year at the British Open, shot a rollercoaster 68 that included an eagle, six birdies and four bogeys to leave the big-hitter five off the early pace.
“There was some really good stuff and some not so good stuff,” said the American, who has already picked up two wins this season. “Missed a couple of short putts early in the round, had a couple of three putts on the back nine.
“All-in-all it was a pretty good day just a few loose shots. Every time I was out of position I made a bogey but I made a bunch of birdies and an eagle.”
Johnson’s playing partners, Canadian Adam Hadwin and twice U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson, recorded 70s.
One-over through 12, Watson turned things around with three birdies over the next four holes to avoid a disastrous start.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood was also plodding along at one-over through 12 holes but then caught fire after the first two-hour delay, sandwiching a pair of birdies between eagles at the par five 13 and 16 to rocket up the leaderboard to five-under before play was halted with two holes to play.
Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas, bidding to become the first to win three consecutive Canadian Opens, got the defense of his title off to a pedestrian start. He was on two-under when the horn sounded with two holes remaining.
Editing by Ken Ferris / Ian Ransom