Toronto: American Brent Delahoussaye led an unlikely record-smashing assault at the first round of the Canadian Open on Thursday, carding an eight-under 62 to sit atop a leaderboard loaded with unfamiliar faces.
Delahoussaye mixed seven birdies with an eagle and a single bogey to shatter the competitive course record of six-under 64 at stately St. George’s Golf Club.
The previous record was set by George Knudson the last time Canadian Open was staged here in 1968.
“I am shocked,” said Delahoussaye, whose only professional win came on the lower-tier Hooters Tour in 2006. “I knew I was playing well, and I didn’t even really know how many under I was at one point.
“So I just kind of kept going and kept trying to make birdies.”
Delahoussaye’s score, which will also go into the books as the Canadian Open record, left the Louisiana native two shots clear of compatriots Vance Veazey and Brock Mackenzie.
While the scores were remarkable coming on a classic tight tree-lined layout, the same cannot be said about the golfers who produced them.
You have to search the depths of the world rankings to find Delahoussaye, who occupies the 851st spot, while Veazey inhabits number 495.
Mackenzie, meanwhile, has not produced enough good results to even register a ranking.
While all three are searching for their first PGA Tour wins, Delahoussaye has yet to produce a top 50 PGA Tour finish in five years as professional.
Certainly, there was nothing on Veazey’s resume to suggest the 45-year-old had a record-equaling round in his bag.
In 14 starts this season Veazey has made just four cuts while 20 years as a pro have produced just four Nationwide Tour wins. His best-ever PGA Tour finish was a tie for 10th at the 2007 St. Jude Classic.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s been a grind,” Veazey told reporters. “I’m a journeyman.
“I’ve struggled and had some success. You just keep plugging and keep believing something good is going to happen.”
Even when Veazey has produced something magical on the golf course his efforts have been overshadowed.
Once before he tied a course record at Cog Hill in the first round of the Western Open but that same day Tiger Woods went one better, returning a 63.
In a round full of surprises, Mackenzie may have been the biggest of all, playing in his first PGA Tour event since 2004.
The trio of unknowns grabbed the spotlight from some of the golf’s more familiar names.
Paul Casey, riding the momentum from a third-place finish at the British Open, appeared headed for a solid start, going four-under in a bogey-free round through 13 holes.
But the Briton’s day soon began to unravel starting with a bogey at the 14th and a double-bogey at the last to leave him on two-under 68, six shots off the pace.
South Africa’s Retief Goosen, who lost the 2009 title in a playoff to Nathan Green, opened with a three-under 67.