EDMONTON, AB'Canadians Rob McMillan, David Hearn and Todd Doohan share the lead after Thursdays opening round of the Canadian Tours $150,000 TELUS Edmonton Open.
All three opened with a 7-under 65, one shot shy of the Glendale G&CC course record set by Lee Trevino in 1985. Eight others, including Darren Griff (Salt Spring Island, BC), Brennan Webb (Bracebridge, ON), Eddie Maunder (Whitby, ON) and Stuart Anderson (Fort McMurray, ON) are just one shot back. Americans David Mathis, Mike Grob and Steve Pleis, as well as Brazilian Alex Rocha, are also at 6-under. Three more Canadians, Derek Gillespie, Wes Heffernan and Matt Daniel, sit at 5-under 67 with Bob Conrad of Seattle, WA.
Coming off a tie for second at last weeks Victoria Open, Hearn, 23, picked up where he left off on Thursday with an eagle on the par-5 opening hole. He had a chance at equalling Trevinos benchmark coming up the final fairway, but just missed a long par putt and had to settle for bogey.
I got off to a quick start and was just able to carry it from there, said Hearn, a former standout at the University of Wyoming. Im not at all happy with the bogey coming in, but I felt very comfortable out there all day long.
Just a year after playing on Canadas championship Four Nations Cup squad, Hearn is enjoying a stellar rookie campaign on the Canadian Tour. He also finished runner-up to Chris Wisler at the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship in May, and added a third-place showing at the Barefoot Classic.
Hearn, who currently sits eighth on the Order of Merit, has watched a few of his friends, including Gillespie and McMillan, win Tour events this year and wants to get in on the act.
Ive been working really hard in the off-season, and its starting to show results. A lot of good buddies have won this year, and Id like to join them. I think I am getting close, and hopefully my time will come soon.
Last Thursday, just before the opening round of the Victoria Open, Griff ran into a stroke of bad luck. Just minutes before his tee time, he locked himself out of his car, with his clubs still inside. Griff played the first five holes with just three clubs- by the time his sticks were delivered to him on the sixth tee, Griff was 5-over and well on his way to missing the cut. On Thursday, he was taking everything in stride.
For the most part, Ive been playing decent when I have all my clubs, smiled Griff, who finished third at the Greater Vancouver Classic two weeks back. Now that I have them all in my possession, everything seems to be OK. But its early yet, and there is a lot of golf to be played before Sunday.
McMillan and Gillespie won back-to-back events in Myrtle Beach, SC earlier this year, the first time since 1997 that Canadians pulled off that feat. After grabbing a share of the lead late Thursday, McMillan stressed the future looks bright for Canadian golf.
I think its great to see so many guys from Canada near the top of the leaderboard, said the three-time Tour winner. Its been a great year for us. To have three guys in the top ten on the money list (McMillan, Gillespie, and Hearn), when was the last time that happened? Ive always said weve had the talent, and now the guys are starting to play with confidence.
NOTES: Former N.H.L. star goaltender Grant Fuhr, who received a sponsors exemption into the event, carded a 2-over 74.Temperatures reached the high 90s Fahrenheit Thursday, with much of the same forecast for Fridays second round.Defending champion Aaron Barber opened with a 1-under 71.
Full-field scores from the Telus Edmunton Open