BOAKVILLE, Ont. — Birdies have been falling like raindrops at the RBC Canadian Open.
Jason Dufner had visions of a 59 at soft and defenceless Glen Abbey on Saturday morning while Mark Calcavecchia set a PGA Tour record with nine straight birdies before another batch of rain suspended play with 36 holes remaining.
A modified cut left 64 players in the field and they’ll look to get the rest of the tournament in on Sunday. Officials were left with no choice after 45 more millimetres fell on the course Saturday.
“If you had a sponge underneath the faucet, the water just starts running off,” said Steve Carman, the PGA Tour’s tournament director. “That’s the case we have right now. Surface water is just running off.
“So we’re anticipating the golf course will be very similar to where it was this morning, still saturated.”
After flirting with golf’s magic number, Dufner had to settle for a 9-under 63 in his second round and a one-shot lead over Jerry Kelly (67) and Scott Verplank (67).
Nathan Green (65) and Peter Tomasulo (68) were two behind and a large group was left three back — Martin Laird (69), Pat Perez (67), Camilo Villegas (71), Bob Estes (67), Retief Goosen (69) and Kevin Na (71).
Dufner found himself 9 under for the round after 13 holes and was thinking about the possibility of becoming the fourth man in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59.
“It was a possibility, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “I think it enters everybody’s head when you get that low, especially once you realize how low you are.”
Any player that wasn’t making birdies was falling down the leaderboard on a course playing about as easy as it could. Heavy rain has left the greens extremely soft and golfers have been given the option to lift, clean and place their ball in the fairway.
That helped Calcavecchia go on a dream run that saw him make nine consecutive birdies — on putts that were all within 15 feet.
“It’s just fly it right to the stick,” said Calcavecchia, who shot 65 and is five strokes back. “You give the guys out here no wind and greens that are plugging, you’re going to see a lot of low scores.”
Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., shot a 66 on Saturday morning to join Calgary’s Stephen Ames (69) as the low Canadian at 7-under 137 — seven shots behind Dufner.
The popular lefty missed a couple short putts during his round, but was pleased to have played his way back into the tournament. He struggled with the seven-hour rain delay that interrupted his opening round on Thursday.
“This has been such a crazy week,” said Weir. “At least today I was able to play 18 holes and actually get in some kind of a rhythm.”
Dufner is one of the lesser-known players in a field that includes just six of the top 30 players in the world. The 32-year-old joined the PGA Tour last season and is looking for his first victory since winning on the Nationwide Tour in 2006.
The biggest challenge he’ll face in the third round is trying to follow one low score with another.
“It seems like when guys shoot a really low score, they have a hard time,” said Dufner. “Maybe there’s expectations of ‘I’m playing great, I should be shooting 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-under.’ …
“Anything in the 60s, you know, 68 or better is a good score.”
Roughly 100 millimetres of rain has fallen since the tournament began on Thursday. Glen Abbey superintendent Scott Bowman surveyed the puddle-filled bunkers on Saturday afternoon and told PGA Tour officials that he wouldn’t be able to have the course ready until Sunday morning.