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Mahan Soars to Top of Canadian Open


Hunter Mahan carded an 8-under 64 to take over the top spot on the leaderboard of the Canadian Open. The $5.6 million PGA Tour event began Thursday at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.

Thanks to an opening 67, Mahan stands at 13-under 131, two shots ahead of fellow Southern Californian John Merrick, who fired Friday's low round, a 10-under 62.

Mahan, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, carded three birdies on the front nine and five more on the back. Over 36 holes at Glen Abbey, he's recorded 15 birdies and just two bogeys.

Merrick's outing was even more remarkable. The 31-year-old from Long Beach started off hot and stayed that way all day long. After an eagle on the par-5 second hole, the 2013 Northern Trust Open champion tacked on eight birdies the rest of the way for his flawless round.

"I wasn't hitting it that great on the range and I didn't feel that good," Merrick told PGATour.com. "Maybe that makes you focus a little bit more, try to figure out what's going on, and I was able to kind of work a couple things out.

"It was a great day," he added. "I got off to a good start, hit it over the green on 2 and chipped in for eagle. My game has been feeling pretty good lately. Everything kind of clicked today."

Four shots behind Mahan is Bubba Watson, who carded a 67, and five back are Patrick Reed and Australia's Aaron Baddeley, who both shot 68s. Following a 64, Tommy Gainey rose up the leaderboard into a tie for sixth at 137 with Chris Kirk (69).

After opening with a promising 65 to take the 18-hole lead, Brendan Steele went 10 shots higher Friday with a 75 to drop into a tie for 27th at 140. Also at that number is Ontario native, 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, who's shot rounds of 73 and 67.

Weir was pleased with the way things went in the second round. "Today was as good as I've felt all year," the 43-year-old told PGATour.com. "I'm having fun doing this again and I still love the game. I enjoyed myself out there today, especially the interaction with the crowd . . . it's been a while."

Weir's performance made him the highest-ranking Canadian heading into the weekend.

The cut was set 1-under 143. Other Canadians qualifying for the final two rounds are Roger Sloan, Brad Fritsch and David Hearn.

Among those heading home are No. 9-ranked Luke Donald of England - at 144 - and Canadian amateur Corey Conners (145), Graham DeLaet (145), Eugene Wong (146) and Stephen Ames (147).

For scoring details, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.