Sindelar Leads Play Suspended

By Sports NetworkSeptember 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Joey Sindelar, who won this year's Wachovia Championship, fired a 5-under-par 66 Thursday to take the lead during the first round of the Bell Canadian Open.
The first round was suspended for darkness shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET with half of the field yet to complete their first round. Some players have not yet teed off as play was delayed five hours due to heavy rain. There was some rain overnight as well and Glen Abbey Golf Club was unplayable.
Pat Perez is alone in second place after a 3-under-par 68.
Sindelar began on the back nine in his opening round and broke into red figures at the par-3 12th. He hit a 4-iron into the wind and the ball landed 12 feet past the hole, where he drained the putt.
At the 16th, Sindelar drove into the rough, but went right at the flag with a 6-iron. His approach came up short and Sindelar ran his birdie putt 8 feet past the hole. He missed that putt to fall back to even par.
Sindelar atoned for the mistake at the next hole when he hit a 5-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie. He received a bit of good fortune at the par-5 18th when his 6-iron second shot barely made it over the water. Sindelar's ball rolled to 4 feet, but he missed the putt and settled for birdie.
Sindelar made it three birdies in a row at the first when he knocked a sand-wedge to 6 feet. He dropped a shot at the second when his 7-iron approach sailed over the green, but Sindelar used a run at the end of his front nine to get the top spot on the leaderboard.
It did not look pretty at the par-5 fifth as Sindelar hit his 3-wood into a greenside bunker. He skulled his bunker shot onto the fringe, but holed the putt from there for birdie. Sindelar hit a pitching-wedge to 12 feet to set up birdie at the sixth, then the same club left him with an 8-foot birdie putt at the last that he made to go two clear of Perez.
'I would call today A-plus for ball-striking,' said Sindelar. 'I drove the ball well, stayed out of trouble and hit a lot of greens. I missed a couple easy little putts. Missed a short eagle putt on 18, but for the most part, everything pretty well went as I hoped it would.'
Sindelar defeated Arron Oberholser at the Wachovia Championship to pick up his first win since 1990. That was his only top-10 this season, but after a pair of missed cuts, Sindelar has been around on the weekend in his last three and is noticing improvement.
'Winning has done everything. You know, and it wasn't even the money to be honest with you. It's knowing I have a job for a couple years after,' said Sindelar. 'Through this whole five weeks I haven't done well money list-wise, but my swing feels very, very good. I'm hitting a lot of shots right at it, which tells me my swing plane okay.'
Perez three-putted the first hole, the 10th at Glen Abbey, but responded with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 11. At the 14th, Perez hit a 2-iron to 10 feet and converted the birdie try.
Perez sent his approach 25 feet over the hole at the 17th, but he ran his birdie putt 6 feet by the cup. He missed the par putt, but birdied the 18th to make the turn at 1-under 35.
He parred his first seven holes on his front nine, but made a 5-footer for birdie at the eighth. Perez knocked an 8-iron to 12 feet at his last and made the birdie putt to take sole possession of second place.
'I made the putts today that I haven't been making, which turns 74 into 68, it's that simple,' said Perez, who said he would have withdrew from the tournament with food poisoning if it weren't for the delay. 'It was just nice to finally get out there. Things went well for 18 holes. I had two three-putts, but it was playing so hard that bogeys were going to come.'
Jesper Parnevik, Danny Briggs, David Sutherland, Cliff Kresge and Brett Quigley are knotted in third place after opening rounds of 2-under 69. Jay Delsing is 2 under par through six holes.
Mark Hensby, Joe Ogilvie, Justin Rose, Glen Day, Scott Dunlap and David Morland IV are in the clubhouse in ninth at minus-1. Several players are on the course at 1 under par, including Canada's own Mike Weir.
Phil Mickelson, getting in one last tune-up before next week's Ryder Cup, is playing with his new equipment this week. He struggled to a 4-over-par 75 and is currently tied for 125th.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Bell Canadian Open
  • Full Coverage - Bell Canadian Open
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