OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) — Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Canadian Open.
The 22-year-old Grillo birdied three of the four par 5s at Glen Abbey. He earned a spot in the field Sunday with a top-10 finish in Alabama in the Barbasol Championship, just making it in when he birdied the final hole to tie for 10th.
“I played better on the back nine, which is harder, and the greens were drying out,” Grillo said. “I kept hitting some solid shots until the end of the round, and I made some good putts on the back nine.”
He won the Argentine Open last season for his biggest career victory, and lost in a playoff this year in the Puerto Rico Open.
Vaughan Taylor and Brian Harman were a stroke back. Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton was at 66 along with Steve Wheatcroft, Tyrone Van Aswegen and Australian amateur Ryan Ruffels.
The 49-year-old Taylor is almost a year removed from a boating accident last year on Lake Thurmond between South Carolina and Georgia. He panicked in the water before swimming to safety.
“I kind of remind myself of it to say, `Hey, let’s not take this day for granted and make the most of it,'” Taylor said.
Taylor also tied for 10th in Alabama. He won the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2004 and 2005 for his lone tour titles.
Jason Day, coming off a tie for fourth Monday in the British Open, opened with a 68.
Bubba Watson also was in the group at 68. His wife, Angie, is from Pickering, Ontario. “I’ve gained a lot of friends because of my family up here,” Watson said. “At least I’ve got people watching me.”
David Hearn and Adam Svensson were the top Canadians at 69.
“I played a solid round of golf, and that’s what I needed to do,” Hearn said. “If I can hit a few more greens tomorrow, I like my chances.”
Former Georgia Tech player Ollie Schniederjans had a 71 in his pro debut. He tied for 12th in the British Open.
South Africa’s Tim Clark, the winner last year at Royal Montreal, shot a 72.