HAMILTON – Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar posted equal rounds of 63 on Friday to share the lead at 12-under par following the second round of the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario, Canada.
Brandt Snedeker put together the round of the day in the morning wave, blistering the Hamilton Golf & Country Club with eight birdies and an eagle in carding a 10-under 60. That put him at 11 under for the tournament and gave Snedeker the clubhouse lead.
It wouldn’t survive the afternoon wave.
With ideal scoring conditions, Brown was the first the 12 under courtesy of an eagle followed up by a string of five consecutive birdies. Kuchar, who like Brown shot an opening-round 65, was three shots off the pace before closing his round with three consecutive birdies.
“There’s definitely a stress level (on the course),” Kuchar, who has only one bogey through two rounds, told the Golf Channel. “This place, if you get off line, if you’re in the rough, if you miss greens, they’re tricky up-and-downs, they’re tricky par saves. I’ve done a good job of kind of managing and giving myself some chances.”
So, too, has Brown, who also has a lone bogey through 48 holes to go with 11 birdies and the eagle. While Kuchar entered this week with a pair of victories already on the season and leading the FedEx Cup standings, Brown entered ranked 250th in the world and coming off six missed cuts in his past eight events.
“I haven’t played great, but I’ve hit a lot of good shots,” Brown said. “I just haven’t been scoring that well, so I was able to put it together … these two days, anyway.”
Snedeker will play on Saturday with Nick Taylor, who closed with a pair of birdies to card a 65 and get to 11 under. He’s the top Canadian at the halfway point, one shot better than Adam Hadwin, who bogeyed the 18th to fall to 10 under.
No Canadian has won the country’s national event since Pat Fletcher in 1954, but four of the 12 in the field enter the weekend within the top 10. Mackenzie Hughes is at 8 under, while Ben Silverman posted a 61 – 10 shots better than his opening round – to move into a tie with Hughes.
They are one shot clear of Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. The fourth-ranked player in the world reeled off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine, but closed with a bogey in carding a 4-under 66 on Friday.
McIlroy is making his event debut, as is Brooks Koepka. The top-ranked player in the world rebounded from an opening 70 to shoot a 4-under 66 on Friday. He’s tied with defending champion Dustin Johnson (65 on Friday), who has an opportunity to reclaim the No. 1 ranking this week.
NOTES: Snedeker shot a 59 in last year’s Wyndham Championship. … Overnight leader Keegan Bradley carded a 1-over 71 on Friday to drop to 6 under for the tournament. … The event moved from July to June for the first time since 1989. … Scott Piercy (263 in 2012) holds the tournament scoring record at Hamilton G&CC, which first hosted the event 100 years ago. Piercy (2 over) missed the cut, as did Spain’s Sergio Garcia (1 over) … Johnson is seeking to become the seventh player to successfully defend a Canadian Open title.