Singh, Wood­land leap into hunt but Flores leads Cana­dian Open

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Vi­jay Singh jumped into con­tention for his first vic­tory since 2008 and Gary Wood­land was just off the course record but it was un­her­alded Martin Flores who grabbed the 36-hole lead Fri­day at the Cana­dian Open. Flores, a 35-year-old Amer­i­can ranked 299th in the world, fired his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive six-un­der par 66 to seize the sec­ond-round lead at 12-un­der 132 in the US PGA Tour event at Glen Abbey in Oakville, On­tario.

“I was putting the ball in the fair­way, that’s for sure,” Flores said. “I kept get­ting the ball up and down, kept the mo­men­tum go­ing in my fa­vor.” Flores, who be­gan his bo­gey-free round on the back nine, birdied the par-3 12th, then closed his open­ing nine with birdies at the par5 16th, par-4 17th and par-5 18th. He added a 20-foot ea­gle putt at the par-5 sec­ond to claim a one-stroke lead af­ter 36 holes.

Amer­i­cans Wood­land, Bran­don Hagy and Matt Ev­ery shared sec­ond on 133, one stroke ahead of Singh, Aus­tralian teen Ryan Ruf­fels and Amer­i­cans Kevin Chap­pell, Charley Hoff­man and Harold Varner. Fiji’s Singh, 54, skipped the Se­nior Bri­tish Open in Wales to play in Canada, where the 50-and-over Cham­pi­ons Tour stand­out could be­come the old­est US PGA Tour win­ner in his­tory, eclips­ing the feat of Sam Snead when he won at Greens­boro in 1965 at age 52.

World Golf Hall of Famer Singh, a three-time ma­jor cham­pion, has 34 ca­reer wins but has not won a US PGA event since tak­ing the 2008 Deutsche Bank Cham­pi­onship on his way to the sea­son money crown.

“Cham­pi­ons Tour is way dif­fer­ent than this,” Singh said. “To come over here and play, you’ve got to bring it. You’ve got to get your game out there and play hard.” Singh, an­other back-nine starter, had three birdies in his first nine holes, then opened with birdies on the first and sec­ond holes, the first on a 32foot putt. Af­ter a bo­gey at the third, Singh sank a 22-foot birdie putt at the par-4 fifth but stum­bled with a bo­gey at the par-3 sev­enth.

Wood­land threat­ened the cours­ere­cord of 62, shot four times, most re­cently by Aussie Greg Nor­man in 1986. But he set­tled for his US PGA ca­reer-low round with a 63. Wood­land opened on the 10th holes as well and af­ter two birdies in four holes suf­fered his lone bo­gey at 14.

But Wood­land fol­lowed with six birdies in a row, the most im­pres­sive of them be­ing a 26-foot chip from a bunker at the 18th. “I was try­ing to just keep it go­ing,” said Wood­land. “Hol­ing the bunker shot was huge. I drove the ball in play and gave my­self a lot of chances.”

A tap-in birdie at the par-3 fourth and 12-foot birdie at the par-3 sev­enth put him on the brink of the mark, but a 13-foot birdie miss at 18 ended his bid for a 62.

“I had every­thing click­ing,” Wood­land said. “It has been com­ing to­gether for a while. I just hadn’t done it. I was driv­ing it well and the putts were go­ing in.” Wood­land has two run­ner-up fin­ishes this sea­son, at the Honda Clas­sic and Mayakoba Clas­sic in Mex­ico, as he chases a third PGA ti­tle af­ter the 2011 Tran­si­tions Cham­pi­onship and 2013 Reno-Ta­hoe Open. —AFP

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