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RBC Canadian Open

07/25/13, Thursday

For being the RBC Canadian Open, there sure aren't many Canucks at the top of the leaderboard.

The Americans, Australians and Swedes crashed the party in the Great White North on Thursday, led by the US' Brendan Steele, who fired a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead to Friday's second round.

The 30-year-old Californian started his round on hole No. 10 and hit his break at 3-under. He was hardly done doing his damage there, however, birdying No. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7 before his lone blemish of the day, a bogey on No. 9.

Steele is in pursuit of his second PGA Tour win, and has plenty of experience with the course located in Oakville, Ontario, having played there three times as a member of PGA Tour Canada.

Steele has a one-stroke lead on world No. 3 Matt Kuchar, Georgia native Scott Brown and Australia's Scott Gardiner, who all fired 6-under 66s.

Gardiner hit six straight birdies between No. 2 and 7, but was even par on the back nine.

Kuchar was lethal on the back nine with three birdies and an eagle on No. 18. Although he finished just 15th at the British Open and 28th at the US Open, Kuchar has een hot lately, with a win at the Memorial.

World #14 Hunter Mahan is tied for fifth with Sweden's David Lingmerth, the 26-year-old graduated of the Unviersity of Arkansas who is raked in $16.3 million in earnings this year.

Like Steele, Lingmerth was nearly perfect on the day,recording six birdies and a single bogey.

In the mix three strokes back at 4-under is American Bubba Watson, while Vijay Singh is 3-under.

The best of Canada on Day One was Brad Fritsch, the 35-year-old Edmonton native.

Fritsch started off with back-to-back bogeys on No. 2 and 3, and was still just even par after No. 10 before running off three straight birdies to end his round 3-under.

07/26/13, Friday

It's true that Hunter Mahan is one of the top-ranked golfers in the world who has still never won "the Big One," but isn't having any problem shooting low rounds and pursuing "little ones" like the ongoing $5.6 million RBC Canadian Open in Ontario.

Mahan fired an 8-under 64, thanks in large part to three straight birdies to end the round with a two stroke lead over John Merrick.

Merrick tied the course record with a 10-under 62 to leap from a tie for 41st to second place. He eagled No. 2, then added eight birdies between No. 7 and 18, never going more than two holes without a birdie.

Mahan was 3-under at the turn, then added five more birdies down the stretch. Bubba Watson is third at 9-under after shooting a 5-under 67. Watson shook off back-to-back bogeys on No. 7 and 8.

A staggering 80 players shot at least 1-under to make the cut.

The two players atop the leaderboard to start the day did not fare nearly as well on Friday. After a 6-under 66 on Thursday, second-place Matt Kuchar struggled to a 2-over 74, struggling through three straight bogeys on No. 8-10.

Day One leader Brendan Steele also dropped to 4-under and into a tie for 26th with a 3-over 75. Steele struggled with a double bogey on No. 7 and three other bogeys.
 
07/27/13, Saturday

Hunter Mahan won't win the 2013 RBC Canadian Open, but he might have just become the most popular player on tour among women and families.

Upon learning that his wife Kandi had gone into labor a month early, Mahan withdrew from the tournament on Saturday and caught a flight home to Texas.

No word yet on the baby's birth, although via Twitter it was revealed that the Mahans are having a daughter and plan to name her Zoe.

With Mahan off the leaderboard by his own choice, fellow American Brandt Snedeker took advantage, sitting at 14-under after three rounds, with a narrow one-shot lead over Sweden's David Lingmerth.

Eleven other players are within four strokes of the lead on the friendly course. Both Snedeker and Dustin Johnson fired 9-under 63s on the rainy Saturday.

The 32-year-old Snedeker, presently No. 5 in the world, accumulated nine birdies between holes 1 and 16, including a batch of four in five holes between No. 5 and No. 9.

Lingmerth shot a 7-under 65 to sit one stroke back. He started the day auspiciously with a bogey on No. 1 , but balanced it out and then some with six birdies and an eagle on No. 18.

Matt Kuchar and Jason Bohn are tied at 12-under. Kuchar fired a 64 on the day. Those two are followed by a pack featuring Johnson, Kyle Stanley, the UK's Greg Owen, Charley Hoffman and John Merrick at 11-under.

Merrick seemed as if he was in position to take the most advantage of Mahan's withdrawal, but he struggled to an even-par 72 after tying the course record with a 10-under 62 on Friday.

Merrick bogeyed four of the first seven holes before turning it around near the end with two birdies and an eagle on 18.

Four more players, all Americans, are tied for 10th at 10-under. David Hearn remains the top-scoring Canadian at that country's signature event. Heaern is 5-under after firing a 68 on Saturday.

07/28/13, Sunday


Brandt Snedeker earned $1,008,000 for his victory Sunday at the Canadian Open.

His first order of business: buying a present for someone who is wasn't even one day old when he brought home the crown.

Snedeker fired shot a 2-under 70 to finish the tournament 16-under, winning it by three strokes over a quartet of competitors. He can use a bit of his suddenly fattened purse to buy a gift for Zoe Olivia Mahan, daughter of fellow tour pro Hunter and his wife Kandi.

Mahan was the tournament leader after two rounds at 13-under, but withdrew before Saturday's third round to fly home to Texas to be there for the birth of his daughter.

Snedeker was particularly pleased to win the tournament for his caddie, Scott Vail, who is a native of Canada. It's Snedeker's second win this year and the sixth of his career.

After giving up a bevy of 63s and even a course record-tying 62 in the first three days, the Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario, was notably stingier for the final round. The lowest round of the day was Rory Sabbatini's 67.

Snedeker shot four birdies and two bogeys, but his birdie on No. 16 sealed the victory.

Fellow American William McGirt made the biggest push, firing a 4-under 68. He was 4-under through 10 holes, but his hot streak fell apart with a bogey on No. 14 that knocked him out of contention.

Dustin Johnson, Jason Bohn and Matt Kuchar also finished at 13-under, but none of the three shot more than a 2-under on the final day.

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