ANCASTER, Ont. — Brandt Snedeker’s early record-matching pace couldn’t quite stand up to late charges from Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar at the RBC Canadian Open.
Snedeker fired a 10-under 60 to tie the Canadian Open’s all-time record for a low score and take a clubhouse lead at 11-under par at Hamilton Golf and Country Club on Friday, before Brown and Kuchar both shot 7-under in the afternoon to finish the day as co-leaders at 12 under.
Brown and Kuchar agreed that Snedeker’s round was a mixed blessing. On the one hand it challenged them to play their best, on the other it confirmed that low scores were possible.
“You kind of feel like you have to go out and shoot a good one, and then you kind of feel like there is a good one out there,” said Brown. “So I think the key is just to not get crazy aggressive. I’ve kind of been conservatively aggressive.”
Snedeker and Sweden’s Carl Pettersson are now the only players to shoot 60 at the Canadian Open. Pettersson did it at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto at 2010 en route to a victory. Greg Norman also had a round of 10-under 62 at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., in 1986.
“I’m not scared about going low. I realize these days don’t happen very often,” said Snedeker, who shot a 59 at the Wyndham Championship last August. “Almost get more excited when I feel like it’s going that way.
“More often than not you’re getting beat up. You have to take advantage of it.”
Most golfers coming off the 6,966-yard, par-70 spoke about wrestling with the poa annua greens that were playing exceptionally slow. The hilly course has sloping greens that need to be soft to prevent balls from rolling off.
Snedeker was one of the few golfers able to consistently drain long putts on Friday.
“Didn’t help me yesterday. I think I left every putt a foot short yesterday,” said Snedeker, who had a 1-under 69 on Thursday. “I was excited for this morning because I got out here and I knew they would be a little faster and I could still be aggressive, which I felt like needed to be.”
Four Canadians were within four shots of the lead. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., was tied with Snedeker for third. Adam Hadwin, also from Abbotsford, was in sole possession of sixth at 9 under, just a shot back of Webb Simpson.
Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., and Mackenzie Hughes of nearby Dundas, Ont., were in a six-way tie for seventh at 8 under.
Silverman rocketed up the leaderboard in the morning with a 9-under 61, second only to Snedeker for best score on the day. It also set the record for best round by a Canadian at the national championship.
“We could just ignore Sneds and say it was the greatest Canadian Open round ever,” said Silverman, with a laugh. His round was highlighted by two eagles and a closing 13-foot birdie putt on No. 9.
No Canadian has won the national championship since Pat Fletcher in 1954 at Vancouver’s Point Grey Golf and Country Club. With four Canadians in contention, Taylor is hoping there will be a sense of palpable excitement around the course for the third round.
“Hopefully it will be buzzing,” said Taylor. “If we keep staying up in contention, hopefully three, four of us have a chance coming in Sunday.”
Toronto’s Richard Jung was tied for 33rd at 4 under and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., was tied for 55th at 2 under. The other 20 Canadians in the field missed the cut.