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ILE-BIZARD, Que. - Talk about a tough crowd.
Matt Kuchar, a former winner of the Players Championship, ranked number seven in the world, was working his way around the Royal Montreal Golf Club in the second round of the RBC Canadian Open Friday in what would turn out to be a 5-under par 65.
Playing in a threesome with Jim Furyk and Canadian Graham DeLaet, Kuchar wound up, in the words of Furyk, "the schlub," of the group.
"I don't know if I've ever played in a group where we shot 63, 63, 65. I was giving Kooch a bunch of crap for the being the schlub in the group shooting a 65," said Furyk.
Yes, Furyk and DeLaet (all together now: bidding to be the first Canadian to win our national open in 60 years), fired those 63s to match the course record held by Canadian David Morland IV.
Together, the three players combined to make 22 birdies on the day as Furyk earned a tie for the lead at 10-under par with fellow American Tim Petrovic, who followed up his opening 64 with a 66 Friday.
DeLaet moved into a tie for third at 8-under par 132. He's one of six Canadians to make the cut along with David Hearn (67-70, T28), Adam Hadwin (70-69, T50) and Mike Weir (70-70), Brad Fritsch (72-68) and amateur Taylor Pendrith (65-75), all at even par and making the cut on the number, tied for 63rd.
"All three of us played great today," said DeLaet of his group with Furyk and Kuchar. "I never saw so many putts rolling in … it was a lot of fun and we were just kind of feeding off each other.
"I would love to win this golf tournament. It would mean more than anything to me, but I know I'm only halfway there right now and I don't know where I'm going to lie at the end of the day, but I'm definitely in good position.
"That's all I can do."
The 32-year-old from Weyburn, Sask., had just 25 putts on the day. That's what he needs to get his first win on Tour is to get the putter hot. Ball striking hasn't been an issue (he's second this year in greens hit in regulation). He was 27th in ball striking in 2012, was first on Tour last year and is first again this year in that stat.
But he's 137th in strokes gained putting and T156 in putting average. He's 179th in one-putt percentage.
He made a couple of good bogey putts to avoid what can be round-wrecking doubles, including one on the 18th hole after hitting his tee ball into the hazard that defends the crook of the dogleg.
"Those are the kind of putts that just keep rounds going," he said. "I was kind of counting a double when I was walking up to the 18th green there, so to hole that putt was a nice bonus."
Now we'll see if he can keep that flatstick at least a little warm for the weekend.
That would make it very interesting.