It’s been just over three weeks since Canada Day, but for a day at the Royal Montreal Golf Club, national pride must have been through the roof. Canadian golf fans love their game, and when a native son like Graham DeLaet is out there setting course records in the national championship, it’s guaranteed to be a good day.
Sure, it’s a 30-hour drive, nearly 3,000 kilometers from his hometown of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, but DeLaet’s 7-under-par round of 63 on Friday at the RBC Canadian Open has him back in contention after several down weeks on the PGA Tour. Although he has six top-tens on the year, he’s also missed four cuts going back to the Masters. Those have come in the three majors and The PLAYERS Championship, so certainly there’s got to be a bit of pressure on DeLaet to perform now that he’s back home.
Of course, as amazing as the day was, skyrocketing DeLaet into a tie for third, what’s even better is that his playing partner, Jim Furyk, matched his feat. Furyk, who was considered a favorite to take his third Canadian Open title by many – including yours truly – didn’t have a single blemish on the scorecard Friday, as he surged to a tie for the 36-hole lead.
For one five-hole stretch, from Nos. 11 through 15, Furyk and DeLaet combined to make eight birdies, starting their day off hot and never really letting up. How good were they? So good that it wasy easy to forget about how well the third member of the group, world. No. 7 Matt Kuchar, was playing. Kuchar shot five-under 65, but as much as the threesome fed off each other’s energy, he was almost just along for the ride.
Furyk has solidified his place as one of the favorites for the weekend, but the real story to watch here is whether DeLaet can earn his first PGA Tour win in this, his own personal “fifth major”.