PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit leader Joel Dahmen tied the course record at Fort McMurray Golf Club on Thursday, carding a nine-under 63 to take the first round lead at the Syncrude Boreal Open in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Dahmen, who claimed the PC Financial Open three weeks ago for his first PGA Tour Canada win, made 10 birdies and one bogey to lead by two shots over Evan Harmeling of Massachusetts.
“I actually only made one putt outside of 12 feet, so I hit it really close all day,” said Dahmen. “My wedges were on fire.”
With a win at the start of the 2014 season, Dahmen said he felt comfortable taking more risks to secure another strong finish and solidify his place atop the Order of Merit.
“I’m playing well and I’m hitting it well, so that helps me to play aggressively, but knowing I had a little head start and a win in the back pocket definitely frees me up a lot,” said Dahmen.
Tied for third are Daniel Miernicki of California, who held the lead for much of the day by carding the low round of the morning wave, and Matt Hill of Sarnia, Ont., who birdied his final three holes for a six-under 66.
Two years ago at the Syncrude Boreal Open, Hill was in the middle of a run that took him to an Order of Merit title, which earned him a spot on the Web .com Tour last year.
Playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption, Hill finds himself in a different situation with a chance to play his way up the conditional member ranking with a solid finish this week.
“I’m not really looking at what everything means. I’m just out trying to have some fun and play golf,” said Hill.
“I know I can win out here, and that’s my goal. I try to prepare as well as I can and just try to play smart golf and hit fairways and greens,” he said.
For the scores, click here.