What the course giveth, the course taketh. And the Hamilton Golf and Country Club layout was not in a generous mood for Friday’s second round of the Canadian Open. Players who were teased with low scores for the opening round, found themselves having to fight and second guess themselves trying to make the cut for Saturday’s third stage.
Which partially explains the unfamiliar names sitting atop the leaderboard. Jesper Parnevik (fourth last year), PGA rookie Camilo Villegas, Aaron Obelhoser, and Jonathon Byrd share the lead with 133, two round totals after challenging windy conditions Friday changed the Open from a cakewalk to a gangplank.
Where seven-six-five under-pars were the order of the day on Thursday, anyone shooting two-under was ecstatic Friday. Villegas, with his 64 (six-under) and Brett Quigley, carding a healthy seven under, were the only two players, to out muscle the Ancaster course with authority.
Quigley, from Ft. Devens, Mass., had the day’s low score of 63, compared to his opening round 71. The turnaround lifted him from a tie at 92nd on Day One to a share of fifth going into Day Three. Last year’s winner Mark Calcavecchia just made the cut at 140.
Not as fortunate was Mike Weir, who as Canada’s favouite golf son, was tossed out of the Open. The Sarnia-area golfer, and former Master’s winner, followed his opening round one-over par 71 with a four over performance Friday, that gave him a 175 total. And that was five too many. Par was the cutoff point.
Also saying goodbye was Bob Tway, the Open’s champion in 2003. He rebounded from an opening round 73 with a 69 Friday but that still left him two shots over the cutoff of 170.
Calgary’s Stephen Ames was also an early out. The course did break his back. After playing nine holes Friday, Ames withdrew with a back strain.
Weir couldn’t find the fairways. He was hitting the fairways at a 28 per cent average Friday compared to his 64 average on Thursday.
But all was not lost for national flag wavers at the Open. The Cambridge Connection, Ian Leggatt and Victor Ciesielski, remained alive along with Nationwide Tour player David Hearn of Brantford and Richard Scott, the Canadian Men’s Amateur champion.
Ciesielski, a 21-year-old amateur and University of Waterloo student, had the Open’s only hole-in-one, acing the par-3, 224-yard sixth hole. He finished the day at two under with a 138 (68-70) total and was cheered on by a contingent of Waterloo students wearing T-shirts with his picture.
The Open’s final round is scheduled for Sunday.