Any storms that hit Friday, and they could be severe in the oppressive heat embracing players at the RBC Canadian Open, won’t do much to soften the baked fairways and greens of Glen Abbey.
“Yeah, the golf course is in great shape. It’s firm and fast. It’s definitely tough to get the ball close to the hole. You’ve really got to land the ball on your numbers. With it being as windy as it was today, it was tough to do that,” said co-leader Dustin Johnson, who got the gustier side of the draw, but still managed a six-under 66.
“I drove it in the fairway a bunch. That was definitely very helpful. Yeah, the conditions were tough. The wind was blowing pretty hard,” he said.
“I felt like I played really well. I just made one bad swing on 14, just didn’t quite commit to the shot I was hitting. Then, I got a little unlucky for it to go in the water there,” said Johnson.
That one bad swing resulted in a double bogey, but he made up for it with an eagle on 18, to go along with seven birdies and a bogey.
“It was a good day,” said Johnson.
“I felt like I played really solid all day. One bad thing there on 14. I just kind of pulled it and hit it straight, got a little unlucky. I think it one-hopped over the bunker and then went down, just barely in the water there and ended up making double,” he said.
“Other than that, it was really solid golf all day. I drove it really nicely and holed a few putts,” he said.
“I like this golf course. I think it sets up well for me. I like it off the tee. The conditions are really tough right now. The greens are really firm, but they are rolling really nicely, so if you get some good looks at it, you can hole some putts,” added Johnson.
Earlier in the day, in less gusty conditions, Luke List put up a bogey-free 66 to share the first round lead with Johnson.
“I was very fortunate,” said List. “The first, probably five holes, there wasn’t much wind at all and it kind of picked up, which is usually does.”
Taking advantage of the par fives at Glen Abbey proved to be the key on Thursday.
“You have three on the back nine and I was able to do that today, birdieing all the par fives, so I was happy with that. With my length, I tried to get it in play off the tee and have a smart iron into the par fives. If I can play them four under every day, all week, that would be great,” he said.
“With the par fives, I was able to have a couple wedges into the par fives and downwind, that’s obviously a great opportunity. I’m trying to use my length the right way, just being in the fairway is important, but if you can get it relatively straight out here, the sand wedge isn’t too bad out of the rough,” he said.
Overnight on Thursday and into Friday morning, there was a risk of strong thunderstorms around Oakville with a probability of precipitation around 40 per cent throughout that time period. However, the heat is expected to continue between 20 and 25 km per hour, with gusts to 40 km. Friday’s high is 35 C.
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