Wyndham Clark fired a seven-under-par 63 to grab a one-shot lead after the first round of the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto on Thursday.
The 28-year-old American, chasing his first PGA Tour victory five years after turning professional, reeled off seven birdies in a bogey-free round at St George’s Golf Course.
That was good enough for a one-shot lead over England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, who posted a six-under-par 64.
Fitzpatrick was denied a share of the lead after a lone bogey five on the par-four 4th hole.
“I’ve made a lot of cuts this year and had a lot of really solid rounds,” Clark said afterwards. “I just haven’t put them together. So I’ve been trending in the right direction, and today it all kind of came together.
“I’m really hoping that we keep going this week with that and leading into next week at the US Open and for the rest of the summer. My game feels good.”
Americans Doug Ghim and Harold Varner III were two off the lead on five under after carding matching 65s.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy – winner of the tournament in 2019 and the defending champion because of the two-year pandemic hiatus – heads a cluster of four players on four under after posting a 66 that included six birdies and two bogeys.
“Really solid start,” said McIlroy, who finished tied for 18th at last week’s Memorial Tournament. “Overall, very happy with the start of the week, especially coming off a disappointing weekend at the Memorial last weekend. It was nice to bounce back with a good score.”
South Africa’s Dean Burmester shot a two-over-par 72, with countrymen Dawie van der Walt on three over and Dylan Frittelli on four over.
Thursday’s PGA Tour event teed off against the backdrop of turmoil in the golfing world following the launch of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series outside London.
The PGA Tour said early Thursday that 17 players signed up to the LIV series have now been banned from its tournaments.
© Agence France-Presse