Singh, Weir off to slow starts at Canadian Open

Defending champion Vijay Singh shot a three-over-par 73 during the first round of the PGA Canadian Open on Thursday, tying him with 24 others for 71st place.

Last year, Singh won a three-hole playoff over Mike Weir, who was denied in his bid to become the first Canadian golfer to win his national championship in 50 years.

Canada’s golfing hero Weir also got off to a slow start Thursday, carding a one-over 71 after five bogeys and a double-bogey on the front nine. But he sank four of his six birdies after making the turn to salvage the day.

“You’ve just got to battle back, you’ve got to get up in this game and shake the dust off and get back to work, and each hole is a new challenge,” Weir said.

Singh, a Fijian-Indian, did not speak to reporters following his opening round.

He suffered back spasms a couple of weeks ago while playing table tennis with his son, Qass, at their Florida home.

Singh was unable to defend his title at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship due to back spasms.

But after resting for a week, Singh returned for this five million dollar event. The last three Canadian Opens have ended in a playoff, with John Rollins winning in 2002 and Bob Tway winning in 2003.

“I got off to an awful start, and a lot of golf will be played and you never know,” Weir said.
“When you play like that, the opportunity for it to turn around like it did today is there. ... I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”

After missing the cut in his first nine starts here, Weir has played into the weekend in his last five, improving his standing each year.

American Mark Calcavecchia and Lucas Glover took advantage of the misfortunes of Singh and Weir, signing for 65s to share the lead.

Calcavecchia, who started on the back nine, collected six birdies while only bogeying on number five. He birdied two of his first three holes and completed the day with another on number nine.

“I think I hit 10 fairways today but still drove it pretty good,” Calcavecchia said.

“I think the front nine is quite a bit harder than the back. The back nine, really once you get to 12 tee, 12 through 17, you can think about actually making birdies on those holes.” - AFP