Golf

Weir pulls out of Canadian Open, rookie shares lead

PGA Tour rookie Michael Thompson fired a 4-under 66 Friday to move into a share of the lead after the second round of the RBC Canadian Open.

PGA Tour rookie Michael Thompson claimed a share of the lead at the Canadian Open on Friday, while young Canadian Adam Hadwin had the galleries buzzing as he climbed into contention during the second day of competition.

Thompson fired a 4-under 66 to finish the day at 4 under after 36 holes in the $5.2-million US tournament. That left him tied with fellow American Chad Campbell, who shot a 67 on the challenging Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club course where the deep rough continued to leave some golfers grinding their teeth in frustration.

Hadwin, who got into the tournament with a sponsor's exemption, also carded a 66 to finish in a group at 2 under.

"I played some unbelievable golf today," said the 23-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., who was the top Canadian at last year's Canadian Open at St. George's Golf & Country Club in Toronto, finishing nine strokes off the pace.

"I hit a lot of good shots on the greens and made a lot of putts."

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., shot a 68 to also finish 2 under.

"I played solid all day," said Hearn. "I'm certainly looking forward to doing more of that this weekend."

Just one shot back of the leader at 3 under was American Paul Goydos and veteran Lee Janzen, who is looking for his first victory in 13 years.

Thompson, 26, finished fifth in a tournament earlier this year but now finds himself in position to challenge for the winner's purse of $918,000 US.

"This is really good for me in terms of a learning experience," said the Birmingham, Ala., resident. "Tomorrow is going to be awesome playing in one of the last groups to get myself in position to have a chance to win.

"Whether or not I win, it really doesn't matter. I want to learn and get better every day. This is part of that process."

Campbell was pleased after shooting a 3-under-par 67.

Home-town crowd

"I was able to make a few putts," said the easy-talking Texan, who finished in a tie for fifth at last week's British Open. "It's a good, old-style golf course. Those are what I like to see."

While the home-town crowd cheered Hadwin's assault on the course, other Canadians fell victim. Of the 17 Canadians who started in the field of 156, 12 didn't make the cut, which was at plus 4.

Former Masters champion Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., withdrew six holes into his second round because of an elbow injury while Stephen Ames of Calgary was 5 over on the day and 7 over on the tournament.

It was another frustrating day for Weir, who shot a 74 in the first round and was 4 over when he called it quits.

"I woke up this morning and it was very sore," he said about the elbow. "With this deep rough, I just can't hit it.

"It's very disappointing. This is our national championship. I'm just not going to re-injure it again."

Weir came into the tournament having missed 11 cuts this year and 19 of 32 since the start of the 2010 season. His best finishes this season are ties for 70th and 77th.

The weather was a mixed bag Friday. A hot sun had golfers peeling off sweaters. But the temperatures quickly dropped when the sun slid behind some dark, threatening clouds.

The tall, thick rough on the tree-lined, 7,010-yard Shaughnessy course remains a topic of discussion. Only four players have been under par in both of the first two rounds.

'It's a tough course'

Campbell is one of the golfers who faced deep grass and howling winds at the British Open. After a long flight from England, he's battling another course where landing a small distance off the fairway can leave you in deep trouble.

"It's a tough course," he said. "Everyone knew that coming in.

"You have to get the ball on the fairway. If you don't get the ball on the fairway, the course is brutal."

First-round leader Kris Blanks shot a one-over-71 and sits at 2 under along with Masters' champion Charl Schwartzel, Australian Geoff Ogilvy and flashy American Rickie Fowler.

Some of Fowler's fans wore bright orange outfits.

Matt McQuillan of Kingston, Ont., who was the top Canadian in Thursday's opening, was three over Friday and finished at plus 1.

Hadwin, who shot a final-round 68 to finished tied for 39th at this year's U.S. Open, had some extra inspiration.

His younger brother Kyle, who is battling complications from Crohn's disease, was released from hospital for the day and watched the course. The 20-year-old has had five major surgeries over the last two years and has been in hospital since May.

"It's great he was able to get out here and enjoy this with me," said Hadwin.

No Canadian has won the tournament since Pat Fletcher earned $3,000 for winning the title back in 1954.

Janzen, who has eight PGA victories, is looking to turn the clock back. The 56-year-old hasn't won a tournament since the 1998 U.S. Open.

"I hit good shots on tough courses before when they mattered," he said. "That's what I've got to remember.

"Golfers beat themselves up. You know we're all optimistic about the future and pessimistic about the present. We've got to just always think about the good things."

The last time the Canadian Open was held at Shaughnessy was 2005. Mark Calcavecchia won that year with a score of 5-under 275.