HAMILTON – Scott Piercy is discovering that not everything you dislike is bad for you.
After two rounds at the RBC Canadian Open, Piercy found himself holding a share of the midway lead with William McGirt. And he’d seen just about enough of Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
“I will tell you this golf course takes the juices out of it for me,” Piercy said Friday after he and McGirt matched the tournament’s 36-hole scoring record.
It was an unexpected comment from a player who has slept on a lead just six times in his PGA Tour career — including twice this week. After matching Hamilton’s course record with an opening-round 62 on Thursday, Piercy followed it up with a 67 to join McGirt (66) at 11-under 129.
That was one shot better than Robert Garrigus (66), two ahead of Bo Van Pelt (66) and three up on Vijay Singh (67) and Tim Clark (62).
Piercy had a relatively easy time getting around the classic H.S. Colt design over the first two days, but didn’t like the path he had to take to do it. The tight, tree-lined layout demands precision off the tee and often forces players to play it safe.
“This golf is boring golf for me,” said Piercy. “I’m not going for it, I’m not trying to put my foot on the accelerator. I’m kind of touch and go.”
McGirt was in much better spirits than his fellow co-leader after a round that included a 49-foot birdie putt from the fringe on No. 8. The second-year tour player is chasing his first victory and he’s anxious to see how his game holds up over the pressure of the weekend.
“There are still 36 holes left,” said McGirt. “There is a lot of golf left.”
Even though none of Friday’s afternoon starters could match the score posted by Piercy and McGirt, a number of more experienced players started to make their presence felt on the leaderboard.
Van Pelt sent up a roar after holing out from 143 yards for eagle on No. 9 — his last hole of the day — while Clark reeled off six birdies and added a holed-out eagle of his own to match the course record with a 62.
“It was obviously a great day for me,” said Clark. “I’m excited. It is nice to be back up in Canada, I have some good memories up here. The course suits me well, too, and I’ve enjoyed playing.”
Also lurking was Singh, the 2004 Canadian Open champion who is looking for his first victory in four years.
Five Canadian players survived the cut led by David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., who shot a second straight 68 and is seven shots back. Matt McQuillan (67) of Kingston, Ont., amateur Albin Choi (68) of Toronto, Graham DeLaet (69) of Weyburn, Sask., and Matt Hill (69) of Bright’s Grove, Ont., will also be around for the weekend.
Scoring was good after rain left Hamilton’s greens soft and receptive, and gave players the opportunity to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairway for both rounds. With more rain expected rain expected early Saturday, a compressed third round will be played with threesomes going off both tees.
Even though Piercy hasn’t found the course to his liking this week, he acknowledged that a good showing could change his outlook on the place.
“If I win, I’ll have a lot of fun,” he said. “Hopefully the next two days go well, and, hey, I finished top 10 (or) I won. It’s fun at the end of the week when you put it together.”
Notes: Chez Reavie (2008) and Scott Dunlap (1996) were also at 129 midway through the Canadian Open … Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., will miss the weekend at the event for the third straight year after consecutive 72s … Other notables to miss the cut included Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, David Duval and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., the low Canadian at the event the last two years … The winner’s share of the US$5.2-million tournament will be $936,000.