OAKVILLE (Canada) • American Robert Garrigus got off to a blazing start at the Canadian Open on Thursday, carding five straight birdies from the second hole on the way to an error-free nine-under 63 to sit top of the leaderboard in the weather-hit first round.
Among the first to tee off, he took full advantage of ideal conditions to attack a defenceless Glen Abbey and set the target no one could better on a wild day interrupted twice by thunderstorms, the second of which halted play with 55 golfers still out on the course.
As good as his round was, the 40-year-old said it could have been better, even historic, believing that with a bit more luck, he could have flirted with a 59. Instead, his 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, 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 No. 10, I had a lip-out on No. 17."
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, looking to bounce back after his first missed cut this year at the British Open, shot a roller-coaster 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 34-year-old, who has two wins this season. "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."
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood was 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 13th and 16th.
Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas, bidding to become the first to win three consecutive Canadian Opens, got his title defence off to a pedestrian start. He was on two under when the horn sounded with two holes remaining.
Day 3: StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 1am