Soft greens play to strengths of leader Flores

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL

OAKVILLE — Mar­tin Flores is the kind of golfer who likes to at­tack a golf course. Get af­ter every hole, take chances. The un­usu­ally soft greens and fair­ways at Glen Abbey Gold Course are play­ing right to that in­stinct.

Flores shot a 6-un­der 66 on Fri­day for a 12-un­der lead through two rounds at the RBC Cana­dian Open, tak­ing ad­van­tage of a play­ing style he honed on the Web.com Tour last sea­son.

“Play­ing on the Web last year was a lit­tle re­fresh­ing in that you have to shoot so low. So, no mat­ter if you’re in the lead or if you’re chas­ing, it’s al­ways — you’re al­ways at­tack­ing. You’re al­ways try­ing to make birdies,” said Flores af­ter his morn­ing round on the rain-soft­ened f air­ways and greens. “That’s kind of a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion with how the rain has been this week. You just have to keep at­tack­ing.”

A rainy sum­mer and a thun­der­storm that de­layed play on Thurs­day’s first round left the nor­mally firm Glen Abbey soft, with some of the low ground still muddy by Fri­day night. That just plays to Flores’s strengths.

“The course is per­fect,” he said. “But it is a lit­tle soft right now, es­pe­cially com­ing into the greens as com­pared to pre­vi­ous years. So the birdies are go­ing to be out there for sure. Un­less the wind picks up, but I think it’s very get­table.”

Flores wasn’t the only one en­joy­ing the con­di­tions. Gary Wood­land nearly tied the course record with a 9-un­der 63 to share se­cond place with Matt Every (68) at 11 un­der and chal­lenge Flores’ lead.

“I just had ev­ery­thing click­ing to­day,” said Wood­land, who wasn’t aware of Leonard Thomp­son’s record 62 from 1981 un­til af­ter his round was done. “I’ve been play­ing well for a long time and just haven’t put all the as­pects to­gether. To­day I drove it well. Ob­vi­ously the ball-strik­ing was good and I saw some putts go in, and that adds up to a pretty good num­ber.

Every started the day in a five­way tie atop the leader­board with Ol­lie Sch­nieder­jans, Hud­son Swaf­ford, Bran­don Hagy and Kevin Chappell. Every con­tin­ued to play well af­ter declar­ing on Thurs­day night “I didn’t plan on suck­ing for the rest of my life,” as the other four fell back on the leader­board.

Fri­day, Every said: “Nor­mally I strug­gle off the tee. But it’s been pretty good off the tee the last few weeks. I just haven’t made any­thing. I got a new put­ter this week, and it’s kind of a placebo ef­fect prob­a­bly. I’ll make my putts for a cou­ple weeks and then start putting bad again prob­a­bly.”

Matt Kuchar, who strug­gled with dizzy spells dur­ing the first round, shot a 68 to fin­ish the day in a tie for 46th at 5 un­der.

Gra­ham DeLaet (68) of Wey­burn, Sask., and Macken­zie Hughes (69) of Dun­das, tied at 8-un­der, good for 14th. They were the only Cana­di­ans left af­ter the pro­jected cut­line of 4un­der par, which elim­i­nated the other 15 Cana­di­ans in the field.

“I wish there were 17 Cana­di­ans 8-un­der or bet­ter,” said Hughes. “It would have been re­ally fun to get a bunch of guys in the mix, but yeah, it’s nice to have Gra­ham in there and not to be the Lone Ranger go­ing out there on the week­end.”

Nick Tay­lor (72) of Ab­bots­ford, B.C.; David Hearn (72) of Brant­ford.; Bryn Parry (71) of North Van­cou­ver, B.C.; and am­a­teur Hugo Bernard (70) of Mont-Saint-Hi­laire, Que., were tied at 3-un­der. Am­a­teur Austin James (72) of Bath, Ont., was 1 un­der.

Adam Had­win (69), also from Ab­bots­ford, missed the cut af­ter fin­ish­ing at even par. The high­est rated Cana­dian golfer on the FedExCup stand­ings.

Mike Weir (73); Toronto’s Daniel Kim (72); Ri­ley Wheel­don (72) of Co­mox, B.C.; Matt Hill (76) of Sar­nia; Van­cou­ver’s Ryan Wil­liams (77); Ot­tawa’s Brad Fritsch (75); Jared Du Toit (79) of Kim­ber­ley, B.C.; and am­a­teur Gar­rett Rank (81) of Elmira, also missed the cut.

FRANK GUNN, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Mar­tin Flores shot a 6-un­der 66 for a 12-un­der lead through two rounds at the RBC Cana­dian Open.

NATHAN DENETTE, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Amer­i­can Gary Wood­land, pic­tured, nearly tied the course record with a 9-un­der 63 to share se­cond place with Matt Every (68) at 11 un­der.

GRA­HAM PAINE/METROLAND

Canada’s Gra­ham DeLaet, of Wey­burn, Sask., blasts his way out of the bunker on 18 and onto the green dur­ing Red & White Day at Glen Abbey.

FRANK GUNN, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Golf ’s No. 1 ranked player Dustin John­son watches his tee shot on the 18th hole Fri­day at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville.

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