Hunter being hunted

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

A Hunter shot three eagles yesterday at Angus Glen Golf Club and nobody seemed to mind.

Of course, in golf, shooting eagles is a perfectly acceptable practice, and nailing three of them as part of an opening-round 62 at any tournament is outstanding.

That's what Plano, Tex., native Hunter Mahan pulled off yesterday to jump ahead of the field at the Canadian Open, setting the stage for what should be some profoundly low scores at the long, but forgiving, Angus Glen course.

Mahan, the 1999 U.S. Amateur champion, had a dream day, holing a 6-iron from 189 yards on the 439-yard 18th, then holing a sand wedge from 89 yards out on the 372-yard ninth. Neither time did he actually see the ball go in.

"I kind of heard the crowd go 'ooh' and 'ah' when it went in and I was like: 'Wow, that's crazy,' " Mahan said. "That doesn't happen."

Not very often, at least. His 62 tied for the lowest score over 18 holes in Canadian Open history. The previous time it happened, Greg Norman shot a 10 under in the third round at Glen Abbey in 1986. Mahan hit 12 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens and needed only 24 putts.

Most of the lowest scores from the opening round on the revamped North Course occurred in the morning session when the winds were quiet. By afternoon, the winds increased to 10-20 m.p.h.

The leaderboard after the opening round was not exactly a list of Hall of Famers. Following Mahan, in order of finish, were PGA Tour journeymen Steve Allan (64) and Tripp Isenhour (65), along with Canadian David Hearn, also at 65.

Mahan's performance shouldn't come as a complete surprise, as he already has posted four top 10-finishes on the PGA Tour this season, including his first career win at the Travelers Championship in June, and five consecutive top-20s.

Canadian favourite Mike Weir, who is coming off back-to-back top-10 finishes on the Tour, including last week's British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, shot a disappointing even-par 71.

"It's a little bit more of a bomber's course, definitely more than Hamilton (last year's Open site) is," said Weir, who is hoping to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win his country's Open.

Vijay Singh, currently ranked No. 7 on the PGA Tour, is six strokes back after shooting a three-under 68. Defending champion Jim Furyk shot a 69.

Weir picked up three bogeys to go with four birdies. He hit only seven of 14 fairways.

"I've just got to find more fairways (today). That's the big thing," said Weir. "It wasn't a great day, but I made some nice putts and I got the ball around."

Despite finishing tied for eighth at the British Open, Weir said he didn't drive the ball very well at Carnoustie either, and it's definitely the part of his game that needs the most attention right now.

"If I play well (today), I'll be right back in there," he said.

Weir, who spends much more time on his corporate, fan and media responsibilities when he is at home, admitted that he was somewhat fatigued by it all.

"That wasn't why I didn't play well today," he said, "but yeah, I have to conserve my energy just a little bit the next few weeks because it's a busy stretch here."


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