Piercy & McGirt Share Lead in Canadian Open

Scott Piercy followed up his course record-setting 62 with a 67 Friday to maintain a share of the lead in the Canadian Open. The $5.2 million PGA Tour event began Thursday at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario.

The 33-year-old Piercy, whose only victory came last year in the Reno-Tahoe Open, had four birdies and a bogey in his second round. He's now at 11-under 129, a score matched by William McGirt, who shot a 63 Thursday and a 66 in the second round.

Piercy had an interesting take on his day. "It's kind of a boring 67 to be honest," he said. "There was not a lot of excitement like yesterday. Made a putt or two for birdie, made a couple of nice par saves. Really not in a whole lot of trouble most of the day and solid overall."

He also realized at the start of his round that it would be hard to duplicate what happened Thursday. "I think it's expectations. You shoot 62 and think, oh, I've got it. You expect to shoot another 62 which is to shoot 62, you've got to have things going for you. You've got to be making the putts. You've got to get the right bounces. I think you've got to be realistic with your expectations.

"When I shot 62, my expectation was to hit fairways and greens, and it just happened," Piercy added. "Today, knowing that it's generally tough to follow up a course record, I just wanted to hit a bunch of greens, a bunch of fairways, and let it happen again. If I hit a good shot and hit 2 or 3 under, then that's great. A lot of times you end up being unhappy with pars after you shoot a 62 because you're so used to making birdie or eagles, that you that's what you expect. And pars are still good, if that makes sense."

McGirt, a 33-year-old South Carolinian still in search of his first Tour victory, is happy with his play so far in Canada's national championship. "It was a pretty solid round," said McGirt, who carded four birdies on the front nine for a 31 and a bogey and birdie on the back. "Only bogey I made was probably the best swing I've made all week. Little cut 7 iron right over the top of the pin, took a huge hop, and ended up in a terrible lie back there. But I hit the shot exactly like I wanted to.

"Yesterday it seemed like I hit a lot of really good iron shots. I did hit a couple close today, but I wasn't quite as close yesterday, so it was a little tougher to make putts. But I did sneak it by them on 8 in the front of the green, so it was a bonus. All in all it was pretty solid. Hit a lot of fairways and greens, and fortunately I made some putts."

Alone in third at 130 behind the leaders is Robert Garrigus, who shot 66. The 34-year-old Idahoan had five birdies - including three in a row on Nos. 5-7. The only blemish on his card came on the par-4 10th. When asked whether he had a stress-free round, the 2010 champion in the Children's Miracle Network Classic said candidly, "Yeah, except on number 10, I almost hopped the thing. My 3 iron takes off at two to three feet off the ground, and I hit it a little thin and it caught the grass right in front of the tee box.

"It felt pretty stupid, but it was a stress-free bogey, almost made par, and then started striking again. It was just a brain fart."

Another stroke back is Bo Van Pelt, who had a 66, while Vijay Singh (67), Josh Teater (65) and Tim Clark, who tied the day-old course record of 62, are tied for fifth at 132.

Clark began play on No. 10 and had four birdies to make the turn in 31. After an eagle on the par-4 second and two birdies on the fourth and fifth holes (his 13th and 14th), it was looking like he might have reached the magic 59 number. But the 36-year-old closed with four straight pars for another 31.

Regardless, Clark is happy with the result. "Obviously being soft you're able to go at a lot of flags and make a lot of birdies," said Clark, who's been trying to overcome a wrist injury for the past two years. In his first six tournaments this year he missed four cuts.

"The only way to get better was to come out here and play tournament golf," he added. "I could feel I was getting better every round I played."

Singh is enjoying a resurgence of sorts at Hamilton G&CC; the "Big Fijian" has shot rounds of 65 and 67. The three-time major champion, whose last victory came in the 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship, was rolling on the front nine, carding five straight birdies on Nos. 3-7 to make the turn in 5-under 30. But he couldn't keep the momentum on the inward half, posting seven pars and two bogeys on the 10th and 13th holes.

The cut was set at 1-under 139. Among those heading home is recently crowned British Open champion Ernie Els (141) and local hero, Mike Weir, who shot two straight 2-over 72s.

Weir, who's playing on a non-exempt major medical extension, posted three bogeys and a lone birdie Friday. After signing his card he was still trying to process his previous two days. I need a little time to think about it, and see what I can draw on it and see what we can get ready for next week," he told reporters. "I'll think about that in a few minutes once I get time to settle in and reassess it and go over my notes and kind of what I was trying to get out of it."

The highest-ranking Canadian is David Hearn, who has shot two straight 68s. Next is Matt McQuillan with rounds of 70 and 67. "It's great," the 31-year-old McQuillan said of making the cut. "As you know, you've probably seen it's been a struggle for me this year. But I've been looking forward to this event all year, and it's really nice to bring a little game to the event. Hopefully I can continue to do that over the weekend."

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