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Kuchar and Brown share Canadian Open lead

Pampling makes first cut of 2019 - file photo (Photo: Bruce Young)
Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar share the lead at the halfway stage of the RBC Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario, the pair one ahead of Brandt Snedeker and Canadian Nick Taylor.

“I'm really enjoying the golf course," said Kuchar who has yet to win the event but has been inside the top 4 on three previous occasions at the Canadian Open.

Despite finishing well back when the event was last played at this venue in 2012, Kuchar sang the layout’s praises.

“Good shots are rewarded with birdie opportunities; bad shots get penalized,” said Kuchar.

“This rough is nasty. The greens are pitched in such a way where you don't want to be chipping very often around here. You want to find yourself on the green with kind of uphill putts if you can get them but have really enjoyed coming and playing this golf course."

“It is one of the I think alluring charms to this golf course,” added Kuchar when referring to the suitability of the layout to all styles of play. “I watched Rory go around and he's playing fantastic golf and certainly has the potential to win anywhere. But a course like this, definitely is a place he can win. Then guys like Webb (Simpson) and I have a chance as well.”

Brown is after his second PGA Tour title having won the Puerto Rico Open in 2013.

Snedeker threatened a sub 60 round when he reached 9 under on the par 60 golf course through 15 holes but although able to birdie the last he was unable to pick up the extra shot he needed to reach that milestone for the second occasion having done so for the first time in 2018.

“I thought about it on 17 for the first time,” said Snedeker. “I was kind of still in the zone. Still going through it. Didn't think about it until I got to 17 tee. Had a great up and down on 16 and realized, oh, gosh I got a chance the last two. I messed up the 16th hole from the middle of the fairway.

“Had a long look for birdie on 17; gave it a run and went about eight feet by. After that I just said, Hey, come on. Let's back to what we do and be smart about it.

I played really well. Had a great time playing with Brooks and JT. It had a lot of fun today. Kind of fed off each other throughout the course of the day.”

McIlroy crept into contention with a second round of 66 to be at 7 under par and although five shots from the leading pair is nicely placed at the halfway mark. A bogey at the last hole was a disappointment for the Northern Irishman but he still looms as a threat to those ahead.

Pre-tournament favourites Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are at 4 under and eight from the lead, both players improving with rounds of 65 and 66 respectively.

Johnson is the defending champion and world number one Koepka are no doubt keen to use this as a means of preparation for next week’s US Open at Pebble Beach.

One of the more interesting stories over the weekend is whether Graeme Mcdowell can find a way into the leading three players inside the top ten this week who are not already qualified for next month's Open Championship in his home country of Northern Ireland. McDowll is currently four from the lead and tied for 7th. 

Only one of the three Australians in the field, Rod Pampling, was able to make it to the weekend, consecutive rounds of 69 having Pampling into the final 36 holes of an event for the first time in his last 13 starts. In fact, it was Pampling’s first cut made in 2019.

Curtis Luck and Cameron Davis both missed the cut.

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