There were plenty of low scores to begin the RBC Canadian Open, where birdies were sandwiched around a brief afternoon rain delay. Here’s how things look after the opening round at Glen Abbey, where Kevin Chappell is among a group of early co-leaders:
Leaderboard: Kevin Chappell (-7), Hudson Swafford (-7), Brandon Hagy (-7), Matt Every (-7), Ollie Schniederjans (-7), Vijay Singh (-6), Bubba Watson (-6), Smylie Kaufman (-6)
What it means: It’s a crowded leaderboard after the opening round, as the top 15 players are separated by a single shot. Five share the lead, a group that includes two winners from earlier this season in Chappell and Swafford. Hagy and Schniederjans remain in search of their first career win, while Every has been mired in a lengthy slump since back-to-back wins at Bay Hill in 2014-15.
Round of the day: Chappell has missed the cut in each of his last two starts, but he bounced back in a big way Thursday with a 7-under 65 that included a pair of eagles. Chappell dropped his lone shot of the day on No. 11, his second hole of the day, but he played the next five holes in 4 under and never looked back.
Best of the rest: Swafford earned his maiden win in January at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and he’s in the mix for victory No. 2 after matching Chappell’s opening 65. Swafford reeled off five birdies in a row from Nos. 2-6 without making a putt over 12 feet, and he added three more birdies on the back nine to grab a share of the lead.
Biggest disappointment: There are plenty of Canadians hoping to challenge this week on home turf, but it appears Adam Hadwin’s stay at Glen Abbey will be brief. Hadwin won earlier this season but made five bogeys en route to a 3-over 75. It was a score that beat only seven players in the 156-man field and left Hadwin 10 shots off the lead.
Main storyline heading into Friday: It’s anyone’s guess with such a tightly-packed leaderboard, but the players to watch sit just off the pace. Former Masters champ Watson remains in the midst of a turnaround after turning in a 6-under 66 in the opening round, while world No. 1 Dustin Johnson sits two shots off the pace as he looks to improve upon last year’s runner-up finish.
Shot of the day: Schniederjans was 201 yards away on the 18th hole when he hit his approach inside 15 feet, setting up his second eagle of the round. In fact Schniederjans’ 65 didn’t include a birdie until No. 2, his 11th hole of the day.
Quote of the day: “I didn’t plan on sucking the rest of my life when I went into a slump. So I can’t look other guys in the eye out here and be like, ‘That guy’s going to be better than me the rest of my life.’ There’s just no way.” – Every