Piercy Sets Course Record in Canadian Open


Scott Piercy carded an 8-under 62 to take the 18-hole lead in the Canadian Open. The $5.2 million PGA Tour event began Thursday at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario.

The 33-year-old Piercy, whose only victory came last year in the Reno-Tahoe Open, carded five birdies, two eagles - both on par-5s - and a bogey en route to setting a new course record. He hit a pedestrian 12 greens in regulation, but needed only 24 putts.

Piercy wasn't the only player to go low on a day when the classic H.S. Colt-designed course was softened by rains that fell overnight and throughout the day. England's Greg Owen and William McGirt matched Hamilton G&CC's previous record of 63 and are only a stroke back.

Robert Garrigus had a 64, while Troy Matteson, Bo Van Pelt, Jhonattan Vegas, Stuart Appleby, Charl Schwartzel, Gavin Coles and Vijay Singh all posted 65s.

Schwartzel hasn't won since the 2011 Masters. After two top-10 finishes in the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Honda Classic, the South African has been trying to overcome an abdominal muscle tear. But before arriving in Canada he started feeling better. "On Monday when I came here, things started falling into place," said Schwartzel.

"I sort of got the feelings I had before I got the injury and I started to get excited. I'm definitely starting to hit the ball good again and if I can putt the way I did today it will put a smile on my face."

Several players shot 66 and a big group fired 67s. Brandt Snedeker, who held the 36-hole lead in last week's Open Championship, posted an even-par 70.

Defending champion Sean O'Hair, who won last year when the tournament was held at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, wasn't one of those shooting an under-par round. The 30-year-old had a 75 that included one birdie, four bogeys and a double on the par-3 sixth hole.

Other scores included 2-over 72s by 2012 Claret Jug winner Ernie Els and Mike Weir, who's playing on a non-exempt major medical extension. Weir is seeking to put up a better score Friday so he can qualify for the weekend. "I'd love to make the cut and play four days," he told reporters.

"The more tournament rounds I can play, the more I can kind of assess what's going on and converse with Grant (Waite, his new swing coach) on what I feel is working out there and maybe what's not."

Weir added that he's hopeful things turn out for the better. "It's just a matter of time before I start to see results again. I believe in myself, bottom line. So I believe I'll be back."

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