Jesper catches a break

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

ANCASTER -- Good fortune, a couple of breaks here and there, goes a long way in winning golf tournaments.

God knows that Tiger Woods gets his fair share on occasion.

Woods, of course, isn't anywhere near the 2006 Canadian Open so the golfing gods this day decided to smile upon Sweden's Jesper Parnevik.

COURSE TAKES MUGGING

It was opening day at the Open and with the greens softened by Wednesday's rain, the old lady known as the Hamilton Golf and Country Club got a pretty good mugging.

Jim Furyk, everybody's pick to finish on top, ended the day tied with Justin Rose atop a leaderboard covered in red. Furyk, No. 2 in the 2006 PGA money list with a little more than $5 million US in the bank, and Rose, both opened with seven-under 63s, breaking the course record (64) for professionals. Warren Sye set the overall record of 62 in the 1991 Ontario Amateur.

Brandt Jobe, Nathan Green and Frank Lickliter were a shot back at 64.

All in all 70 players bettered par, few of them Canadian.

Parnevik, playing in the second group of the day, had a pretty adventurous round, finishing the day two shots back of the leaders and tied with four others at 65.

He drove his first shot so far right off the first tee he thought it was out of bounds, re-loaded and hit a provisional.

"I got off to a good start after an absolutely horrendous drive on the first hole," Parnevik said. "I hit it straight right and it stayed in by about six feet, in a bush. I tried to play it through a tree and some other bushes and it hit the tree, came down and I had a decent lie in the rough which I knocked to about six feet and holed the putt. It was a great par but it could have been an eight or worse."

That was break No. 1.

Then came his tee shot at the 10th, which is played from a severely elevated tee. Controversy quickly followed.

"We couldn't see our tee shots (land) because the sun is in our face," Parnevik said. "My ball is about one and a half inches underground."

Parnevik asked his playing partners for a ruling and they told him to take a drop. But then someone said it might have hit and jumped into a pitch mark so they asked for a ruling and didn't get one.

"So I had to replace it in the pitch mark and play it," Parnevik said.

When the SHOTLink people, who record every shot, told the powers that be that the ball plugged it was decided there would be no penalty assessed for touching his ball.

"At the end of the round they told me there was no penalty," Parnevik said. "I was pleased with that."

And pleased with his round.

"I always tend to play fairly well in Canada," he said. "I don't know if it's the golf courses, the food or the crowds. I love coming here and playing. So I'm happy to get off to a good start today."

Judging by the number of low scores, he wasn't alone.


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