(Ancaster, Ontario) – By any assessment, even his own, Nick Taylor and the RBC Canadian Open have had a tenuous affair. At points in his life, Taylor, from Abbotsford, British Columbia, has been the #1 amateur in the world, has won on the PGA TOUR, but in his beloved national open, he’s been vexed.
The 31-year-old has made nine appearances in the Canadian Open prior to this week and earned a pass to the weekend only three times. His best finish? A tie for 53rd place in his first shot at the title in 2008.
His earning for all these efforts? Just a hair over $25,000.
It stinks, and he knows it.
“I really haven’t had a lot of success at the Canadian Open. I think probably I put too much pressure on myself,” he shared after his opening round at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.”
But things seem to have turned around.
Taylor came in with a 64 (-6) on Thursday, his lowest Canadian Open round by three shots and enough to put him near the top of the leaderboard. He is just one stroke off the lead of 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley. He shares second with five other players, including Shane Lowry, Sungjae Im, Erik Van Rooyen, and Roberto Castro.
It’s a big turnaround from 2012 when Taylor played this event here in Ancaster. That year he opened with a plump 75 followed by an equally unimpressive 74. Only two players who finished 36 holes had a higher score.
“…that wasn’t the golf course. That was more me,” he noted of that showing.
A New Nick
But that was then, and this is now.
He comes in a little more prepared this year and feeling better about his game in general.
“I missed the last couple cuts, but I’ve been playing well. Sandwich in between there I qualified for the U.S. Open, so I knew I had been playing well.”
Taylor played in an all-Canadian trio on Thursday, alongside Mike Weir and David Hearn, and despite starting slowly, really had things going well mid-round. Starting on the back nine he was even par through his first six holes then proceeded to birdie six of the next seven.
‘It was nice today to hit is really well, hit a bunch of fairways, hit a bunch of greens, and roll some putts in the middle of the round. It was nice to show off a nice one.”
The Canadian Tale
While Taylor was the best of the home squad in the first tour of the course, he was not the only one of the twenty-six to play well.
Adam Hadwin, also of Abbotsford, recorded a crowd-pleasing 65. It was a clean day with five birdies and no bogies, a tough feat on a course soft enough to allow scoring but penal enough to blemish more than a few scorecards.
“Feel amazing,” shared Hadwin after his round. “I’ve (been) playing some pretty decent golf. Just haven’t been scoring a little bit lately, and it was nice to hit a lot of greens, lot of easy pars, made puts, and adds up to an easy 65.”
“It’s a good feeling, something I hope to continue on for the next three days.”
Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario) had a chance to surpass both Taylor and Hadwin but failed to take advantage of the last two holes of his round. Sitting at four under par through the 16th hole after a near ace there, he could not convert an up and down birdie on the par-five, 17th. He followed with an errant drive on the difficult 18th (the second hardest hole on Thursday) the resulted in a deflating double bogey.
Matching Hughes at 66 (-4) were David Hearn (Brantford, Ontario) and Drew Nesbitt of Shanty Bay, Ontario.
The full list of scoring by the Canadians through round one of the 2019 RBC Canadian Open:
- Nick Taylor 64 (-6) T-2
- Adam Hadwin 65 (-5) T-7
- David Hearn 66 (-4) T-15
- Drew Nesbitt 66 (-4) T-15
- Mackenzie Hughes (-4) T-15
- Richard Jung 67 (-3) T-25
- Roger Sloan 68 (-2) T-42
- Ryan Yip 68 (-2) T-42
- Austin Connelly 69 (-1) T-59
- Adam Svensson 69 (-1) T-59
- Corey Conners 70 (E) T-84
- Mike Weir 70 (E) T-84
- James Allenby 70 (E) T-84
- Richard T. Lee 70 (E) T-84
- Michael Gligic 70 (E) T-84
- Ben Silverman 71 (+1) T-105
- Thomas DeMarco 71 (+1) T-105
- Etienne Brault (a) 72 (+2) T-123
- Chris Crisilogo (a) 72 (+2) T-123
- JC Deacon 74 (+4) T-143
- Marc-Etienne Bussieres 74 (+4) T-143
- Matt Anderson 74 (+4) T-143
- Joey Savoie (a) 75 (+5) T-151
- Michael Blair 76 (+6) T-153
- Albin Choi 76 (+6) T-153
- Josh Whalen (a) 79 (+9) 156th