It’s a late-blooming week in golf as the LPGA and European Tour do not get started until Friday. Still, we have a crowded leaderboard in Canada, tons of birdies on the Web.com Tour, and a 57 from Davidson sophomore Alex Ross.
It was a true #LiveUnderPar day at the RBC Canadian Open as 24 players shot 66 or better on Thursday. Keegan Bradley opened with a 63 and leads the pack, but there are a ton of players within striking distance. Leaderboard
Keegan Bradley opened Thursday on a mild note, parring his first six holes. That quickly changed as he made seven birdies over his final 12. Keegs is in the midst of a resurgence. The anchoring ban of 2016 knocked him outside the top 100 in the OWGR after he had spent four years inside the top 30. The 2018 BMW Championship was his first win in six years, but he has gotten himself in contention many times in recent seasons. His only top 10 in 2019, however, was at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
One shot back of Bradley sits a pack of five players: Sungjae Im, Nick Taylor, Shane Lowry, Erik van Rooyen, and Roberto Castro. Only Taylor and Lowry have won on the PGA Tour before, both in 2015.
It has been 65 years since a Canadian has won the Canadian Open, but the Great White North has many hopes this week. Taylor sits one off the lead, Adam Hadwin is two shots back, and Mackenzie Hughes, Drew Nesbitt, and David Hearn trail by three shots.
Europeans Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, and Jonas Blixt shot first-round 67s. Rory has been a bit of a “slump”—by his standards—so a good week prior to Pebble wouldn’t hurt.
Collin Morikawa shot 70 in his first tournament round as a professional. An All-American at Cal, Morikawa will also be in the field at Pebble Beach after getting through sectional qualifying.
Through one round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Web.com Tour, the trio of Vince Covello, Matt Harmon, and Ben Martin lead at -8. Covello already has one win this season, the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Martin has previously won twice on the Web.com Tour and once on the PGA Tour, but Harmon is still searching for his first win on either tour. Chris Baker, Justin Lower, and Maverick McNealy are amongst the closest chasers. Leaderboard
It’s a slow day, so why not devote some time to one of the greatest competitive rounds ever? Alex Ross, a member of the Davidson golf team, shot 57 in the third round of the Dogwood Invitational on Thursday. Ross went 75-73 over his first two rounds, but his 15-under explosion brought him to within four shots of the lead. Playing the back nine first, Ross made six birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes, going out in 27. Shooting 57 is insane enough, but doing it after showing some rusty form is absurd. Jim Furyk who?
New series alert! Inspired by Andy Johnson’s “Flashback Friday” segments on the Shotgun Start podcast, Garrett Morrison will contribute occasional FF writeups. This week’s rabbit hole takes us to the 2004 Bell Canadian Open, a disappointed Mike Weir, a red-hot Vijay, a classic Phil quote, and an equipment-related explanation for Tiger’s 2003-2004 slump. Believe us, it makes sense when you read (or hear) it.
Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland are officially professional golfers. All three players announced this week that they will turn pro—Morikawa at this week’s RBC, and Wolff and Hovland at the Travelers Championship. The trio joins an exceptional class of freshly minted professionals.
The LPGA Shoprite Classic gets underway on Friday. Tee Times
The Golfsixes also starts on Friday. There will be a shot clock on one hole, a tee shot over a swimming pool, and various other oddities. Matches
The Latest Podcasts and Articles
Episode 141 & 142: Ryan French of Monday Q Info
Ryan French joins the podcast to talk mini tours and Monday qualifiers. Ryan runs one of the best accounts on golf Twitter, @acaseofthegolf1, which breaks down the road to Tour and tells stories that are rarely told. In part one of this episode, Ryan talks to Andy about how the Monday Q account got started and some of his favorite moments. In part two, the conversation shifts to U.S. Open Sectional notes and backstories on a few names you may not have heard. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.
Shotgun Start: A Flashback Friday explosive exposé, Bryson on “human potential,” and Tiger and Phil on U.S. Open setups
This Friday episode meanders about the world of golf, beginning with live Assasin updates from the Senior event in Japan. Keegan Bradley’s early lead in Canada prompts another discussion about the proliferation of personal logos. Then we get into all the quirks and curveballs at this week’s Euro Tour event and if it could spark a WWF “Attitude Era” type response from the PGA Tour. Then we have a Friday quotes segment, reviewing Phil’s harsh words and Tiger’s suggestions on the U.S. Open, Brooksy’s ambivalence and potential Joey D betrayal, and Bryson’s self-parody with his motivation for going to the Sticky Note Classic. In news, we hit on some college studs going pro, player videos already ramping up the hysteria about the Pebble rough, a 16-year-old cruelly DQ’d at sectionals, and some early U.S. Open tee times to watch. Fan Vote Friday takes us down the path of some Canadian players’ odd wine labels, one pro’s claim that he’s the best MarioKart player in all of Canada, and the one unexpected moment that Mike Weir said might be bigger than his Masters win. Flashback Friday is a deep dive starting with the 2004 Canadian Open battle between Weir and Vijay Singh, takes a left turn with a crude Jason Whitlock article on Vijay, and concludes with some damning numbers about how equipment in this era prevented Tiger from holding the majors record already. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.