Date: July 25, 2008

Senden off to a good start

Canadian Mike Weir is one of three players tied for the lead after Thursday&aposs rain-soaked first round of the Canadian Open was suspended due to darkness. Weir carded a bogey-free six-under-par 65 and is in a three-way tie with Anthony Kim and Eric Axley for first place. The trio are two shots ahead of seven players at four-under. Only about half of the field was able to complete their first round as rain delayed play for five hours, 42 minutes. The round will resume at 8am local time on Friday. Australia&aposs John Senden is well placed at four-under after just eight holes, while Steve Allen is already in the clubhouse after shooting at 68. Andrew Buckle and Adam Bland have both made good starts shooting two-under and one-under respectively. The 38-year-old Weir is making his first PGA Tour appearance in Canada since last year&aposs President&aposs Cup, when he defeated Tiger Woods in match play. The lefthander has just two top-10 finishes in 17 starts this season and has missed five cuts. But Weir was at the top of his game on Thursday, starting his round on number 10 and carding birdies at numbers 13 and 15. He added four more coming in, including one at the ninth to close out a strong start in his quest to win his national open. “I hit solid shots right out of the gate,” Weir said. “I hit the ball close to the hole quite a bit today. When I did make a mistake, I recovered.” What helped Weir in his ability to recover, and to post a bogey-free round with six birdies, was a course softened up by heavy rains on Wednesday and again Thursday. Players were able to use preferred lies because of the conditions, and that enabled Weir and the other leaders to attack the course. “Obviously, It was very wet,” said Weir, who is looking to become the first Canadian winner of the event since Pat Fletcher in 1954. “It played probably about as easy as Glen Abbey can play, given the ball&aposs not running out through the fairways on some of the doglegs. With the greens being soft, you could fly the ball right to the hole and it would stop.” Kim carded seven birdies en route to his 65, and Axley had an early bogey but rebounded with five birdies and an eagle at the par-five 18th. Kim is looking for his third win of the season. He recently finished tied for seventh at the British Open, where he played in winds up to 50 miles per hour, making this week a drastic change. “It&aposs been three days, it&aposs taken me. I really didn&apost feel comfortable until today,” Kim said. “I definitely feel like I have my legs under me now, and I am ready to go.” A week after finishing in a tie for fifth at the British Open, Jim Furyk returns to the Canadian Open this week and is looking to make it three straight titles. But due to the inclement weather, Furyk only was able to get in nine holes and is at one-under. Richard Johnson, JP Hayes, Nicholas Thompson, Ryan Armour and Jason Allred are tied for fourth place at four-under 67. First Round Scores from the Canadian Open, Glen Abbey, Ontario -6: Eric Axley 65, Mike Weir 65, Anthony Kim 65 -4: Richard Johnson 67, J.P. Hayes 67, Nicholas Thompson 67, Ryan Armour 67, Jason Allred 67, Charley Hoffman 67 John Senden (Australia) through 8 holes -3: Bob Estes 68, Dudley Hart 68, Steve Allen (Australia) 68, Bill Haas 68, Steve Flesch 68, Jeff Maggert 68, Carl Pettersson 68, Ted Purdy 68, Kevin Streelman 68, Michael Letzig 68, Carlos Franco 68, Billy Mayfiar 68, Jason Day (Australia) through 5 holes Also: -2: Andrew Buckle (Australia) -1: Adam Bland (Australia) E: David Lutterus (Australia), Nathan Green (Australia), Matt Jones (Australia) through 6 holes, Brett Rumford (Australia) through 5 holes +1: Steve Elkington (Australia) +2:Nick Flanagan (Australia) +4:Gavin Coles (Australia) +3: Nick Green (Australia)