Kevin Sutherland shoots 8-under 62 to take lead at Shaw Charity Classic

CALGARY — Kevin Sutherland made the most of an early start at the Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club on Friday.

Sutherland was in the second group out on the back nine of the par-70, 7,086-yard course and had birdies on his second and fifth holes before adding six more on the front nine for an 8-under 62.

His round held up as the best of the day, leaving him atop the leaderboard after the opening round of the Shaw Charity Classic.

“It was nice to get out early in the day,” said Sutherland, who birdied five of his final seven holes. “The weather was nice and cool, which was something that we haven’t had a lot lately, so it was nice to get a nice cool day out here.”

On his final hole, Sutherland had a chance to make another birdie to tie the course record of 61, but he just missed the putt to the low side of the hole.

“I had no idea,” said Sutherland. “If I would have known, I might have tried to hit it a little higher.”

Sutherland has finished second three times this season on the PGA Tour Champions circuit and also has 12 top-10 showings in 16 starts.

“I’ve been playing well all year,” he said. “I feel like my game’s in a really good place right now. I’m hitting a lot of really good, quality iron shots, which is giving me a lot of good opportunities.”

Rod Spittle of Niagara Falls, Ont., wasn’t surprised to hear that Sutherland continued his fine form on Friday.

“I’ve played a bunch with Kevin the last month or so,” said Spittle, who finished as the low Canadian after shooting a 3-under 67. “He’s playing really, really well. He’s a terrific player.”

Spittle finished Friday’s round in a tie for 23rd spot with nine other golfers including 2014 Shaw Charity Classic winner Fred Couples.

“The course is in such terrific condition,” Spittle said. “The greens are so smooth. That’s the reason for the low scores.

“It’ll be, I’m sure, a birdie-fest for the fans to watch for the next couple days, without a doubt.”

Scott McCarron received a nice round of applause after he eagled the par-5, 18th hole to shoot 63 and finish alone in second spot after the first of three days of competition.

“You make the eagle and it’s a nice reaction — almost feels like you’re winning a tournament or something like that and it’s only Friday,” McCarron said. “The 18th is just fantastic — great theatre.”

Miguel Angel Jimenez also eagled the 18th hole to finish in a four-way tie for third spot with Todd Hamilton, Billy Andrade and Scott Dunlop at 6-under 64.

Vancouver’s Stephen Ames had a 69 to finish in a tie for 45th with nine other golfers, including defending champion Carlos Franco.

Victoria’s Jim Rutledge finished well back of the pack with a 72.

Just Posted

Alberta’s status of women minister joins Twitter debate over women’s marches

EDMONTON — A minister in Alberta’s NDP government has chastised a tweet… Continue reading

Canada faces angry Americans in pivotal sixth round of NAFTA talks

Canada will be hosting an annoyed and angry United States as the… Continue reading

Arts and Craft (Beer) evening set for Feb. 3

Raising money for Red Deer Arts Council

‘Hobbit’ director Peter Jackson making WWI documentary

LONDON — “The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson is transforming… Continue reading

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Are you a risk-taking adventurer with $130,000 to… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month