Weir Home Alone -- in First

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OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Mike Weir closed out a dream round at the Canadian Open on Friday with a 5-iron from 196 yards to 3 feet for a 5-under 66 and a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh, making it likely they will be in the same group in the third round. It will be Canada's best against the best in the world.
 
'I'm really looking forward to it,' Singh said. 'I like Mike, and I'm a friend of his. I know the crowds are going to be a little biased, but it won't be any worse than what it was last week. I'm used to it.'
 
Having Weir and Singh atop the leaderboard turned out to be the perfect gift for a Canadian Open that is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
 
Weir was at 9-under 133, the first time he has ever been in the lead at his national championship. Singh, who broke the Canadian Open record with a 28 on the front nine to finish off his first round at 68, came back with four birdies in his final six holes for a 66 that left him one shot behind.

Craig Barlow, Weir's best friend from their mini-tour days, had a 69 and was at 6-under 136.
 
Because of a five-hour rain delay at the start of the tournament, 73 players had to return Saturday morning to finish the second round. Jesper Parnevik finished off a 66 Saturday morning and was at 7-under 135. He will join Weir and Singh in the final threesome.
 
Pat Perez shot 68 and was at 136, along with Barlow.
 
'He's playing the best of anyone. He's No. 1 in the world for a reason,' Weir said of Singh. 'Hopefully, I'll be able to find the magic tomorrow.'

It already was plenty loud Friday.
 
Weir made Glen Abbey sound like Sunday at Augusta National.
 
The crowd stood eight rows deep behind some of the greens, some standing on coolers in the back, all of them giving him rousing ovations every time he walked to the green.
 
The most electrifying moment came on the par-5 fifth, when Weir laced a 3-iron that barely climbed over a bunker and rolled up a ridge on the green to about 3 feet for an easy eagle. Anyone but Weir, any place but Canada, and someone would have thought he had holed the shot for double eagle.
 
'I could tell it was a good shot, but it wasn't quite the 'made it' roar,' Weir said.
 
He tapped in the putt and could barely contain a smile. There is no sweeter feeling that playing good golf before the hometown crowd, something that until this week has been a foreign sensation for Weir.
 
He missed the cut in his first nine trips to the Bell Canadian Open. He has never liked the Jack Nicklaus design at Glen Abbey - in fact, he only had one round in the 60s until his 68-65 on Friday while playing 30 holes.
 
'It's only halfway through, but I'm still excited about it,' Weir said. 'I haven't been in this position in the tournament before. I haven't played this golf course very well, so that's two good things.'
 
The challenge will be to control his emotions.
 
This is the treatment Colin Montgomerie gets at Royal Troon when he's playing well (Weir knows that because he was paired with Monty this year in the final two rounds). And it's not much different that how the crowd responds to Woods when he's on top of his game.
 
'Pretty much the same,' said Joel Edwards, who played the first two rounds with Woods at Royal Montreal in 2001, and spent the last two days with Weir at the Abbey. 'They're rooting hard for him, and they should. He's a great champion, he's at home, and he's playing good.'
 
It's hard not to cheer for Singh with his stunning array of shots.
 
The 41-year-old Fijian returned Friday morning and hit a 6-iron into the water on the par-5 18th, sending him to 4 over for the tournament. All that did was upset him, and he answered in style.
 
Singh had five birdies inside 6 feet, and rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt on No. 5. He broke the nine-hole tournament record of 29 previously held by Mike McCullough in 1984 and Andy Bean in 1983, both at Glen Abbey.
 
'I just started hitting it close, and all of a sudden I noticed it was 28,' Singh said. 'I was just trying to get it back as close to par as possible.'
 
And despite running into some trouble in the middle of his round, Singh got his game on track quickly with three straight birdies starting on No. 12. He finished with a bunker shot to 5 feet for birdie on the final hole.
 
That puts him in a familiar spot - near the lead, and with the crowd squarely against him.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Bell Canadian Open
  • Full Coverage - Bell Canadian Open
     
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