Date: July 24, 2009

Na defies rainy Open

Kevin Na holds a two-shot lead in the Canadian Open following a rain-disrupted opening round as Steve Elkington finds himself five strokes off the pace. The American birdied the last five holes at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville to score a nine-under 63 and hold the edge over Scott Verplank, Retief Goosen and Joe Durant. A seven-hour rain delay made it a frustrating day for many players and the opening round was eventually suspended due to darkness. By that time, Na was already in the clubhouse following a sparkling bogey-free round which produced nine birdies in total. Verplank, who started on the back nine, was also flawless shooting six of his seven birdies before the turn. Goosen was not deterred by the inclement weather either, holing an eagle on the par-five 13th and adding five birdies on his way to a seven-under 65. Durant was the only player among the top four to drop a shot, on his final hole, but it was not too much of a disappointment for the American who had preceded that with a stunning hole-in-one on the par-three seventh. “It was like 147 to the hole, which for me was kind of an in-between shot,” Durant said of his achievement. “I hit a nice little smooth 8-iron. It hit about 4 feet past and drew back in.” Jimmy Walker was one shot further back on six under par, but could shake up the leaderboard early tomorrow as the American still has four holes to play in his opening round. Walker had scored seven birdies and one bogey when play was halted. Behind Walker sits a group of 11 players tied on four under, with Elkington the only non-American among them. The Australian fired five birdies and one bogey for a round of 68. Elkington is two strokes ahead of Steve Allan, who finished with a two-under 70, while Aron Price and Jason Day are at even par following 15 and four holes respectively. Despite the rain Matthew Goggin and Peter Lonard finished their rounds with one-over 73s, level with Aaron Baddeley, who made it through just two holes. Greg Chalmers, Matt Jones, Nick O&aposHern, John Senden and Nathan Green didn&apost get a chance to tee off, giving them a busy Friday at the Ontario course if the weather holds out. Across in Sweden, Australian Brett Rumford blew his chance to lead the SAS Masters in Malmo, closing his round with a triple bogey as Lee Slattery claimed the leaderboard&aposs top position on Thursday evening. Rumford was level with Slattery at six-under par going into the final hole but lost his first drive before being forced to play from the trees with his second. The disappointing finish left Rumford tied for seventh at three-under after signing off on a 70, with Marcus Fraser and Wade Ormsby two strokes further back after their opening rounds. Peter O&aposMalley (74), Matthew Millar (75), Kane Webber (76) and Michael Curtain (79) are further back.