The Upshot: Putnam comfortable in the spotlight
July 24, 2014
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Michael Putnam was solid tee-to-green on Thursday, hitting 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens.(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
L'ILE-BLIZARD, QUEBEC -- He’s never had the first round lead in his PGA TOUR career, but Michael Putnam does know how to win. The two-time Web.com Tour winner in 2013 raced out to a 6-under 64 at the RBC Canadian Open on Thursday, is tied for the lead with Tim Petrovic heading into Friday’s second round.
The 64 shot by Petrovic and Putnam were the lowest rounds ever shot to open the Canadian Open.
“Obviously it was playing easy,” said Putnam, laughing, after his round finished. “The course is very similar to the courses I play back home – same grasses, same kind of terrain, so I feel pretty comfortable.”
Putnam’s bogey-free 64 was highlighted by four birdies on the front nine, before the wind picked up.
Michael Putnam sticks his approach shot to yield birdie at RBC Canadian
“I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens. Obviously it got windy there this afternoon and it was tough ball-striking, but somehow I was able to keep it in the fairway,” he explained.
Putnam was the leading money winner on the Web.com Tour last year, was also voted the Web.com Tour Player of the Year. His best finish on the PGA TOUR this season is a T11, at the Travelers Championship. He credits his Web.com Tour experience to how well things are going this year.
“It was huge. I think I was in contention in half the events I played last year, so I got used to doing a lot of media interviews, seeing cameras behind me while I swing. So I feel very comfortable,” he said.
For Petrovic, it was a little bit of a different story for how he got to Royal Montreal. The one-time PGA TOUR winner was the last player in the field, and wasn't able to play a practice round.
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THE KID’S ALRIGHT: Taylor Pendrith’s caddie said today he just automatically handed Pendrith his driver and “let him go.”
With good reason, as the 21-year-old Kent State graduate averaged 323.3 yards off the tee (first in the field) en route to a first round 65. He sits at 5-under, and is tied for third with Kyle Stanley.
But Pendrith isn’t getting caught up in the moment, yet.
“I made a lot of birdies and hit it in some good spots off the tee. I just played golf and did my own thing,” Pendrith explained. “It was a fun day.”
Pendrith, who launched a 365-yard drive on the par-4 8th, has no fear with the driver. He said it’s his “best club” and is confident that he can “accomplish anything” if he puts his mind to it.
Strong words from the Golf Canada national team member, but the coach of the team, Derek Ingram, said Pendrith’s round didn’t surprise him at all.
Now, it’s all about calming down and focusing on tomorrow.
“We’re just going to go through our standard post-round analysis, eat, stretch and focus on playing good golf.”
Taylor Pendrith’s approach yields his seventh birdie at RBC Canadian
GIRL POWER: Dianne Barabe won’t admit the members of the PGA TOUR intimidate her, but she will be doing her best this week as the first-ever female rules official from Quebec to work the RBC Canadian Open.
Barabe became just the second woman to referee the Canadian Open Thursday, after Ann Edgar in 2000 at Glen Abbey. She explained that her shift went “great.”
“I had two rulings and they went well. I got my first two out of the way, and it was an easy one,” she explained, laughing.
Despite her infectious laugh, she takes her job very seriously.
“You’re dealing with people who are making millions of dollars and you want to be sure of yourself. You don’t want to make any errors,” she explained.
“I’m not focusing on who I’m giving the ruling to, I’m focusing on the rule.”
Click on the image below to see Thursday’s best images from the RBC Canadian Open
CALL OF THE DAY: Bill Rosinski of PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM calls Graham DeLaet's 53-foot birdie putt on No. 11 during the first round of the RBC Canadian Open.
Live play-by-play coverage of the second round streams from 1-7 p.m. ET Friday on PGATOUR.COM.
“I made it to the course from downtown.” ~ Robert Allenby on what the key to his round was today
“I had no idea that happened quite honestly. I was just out there trying to make as many birdies as I could.” ~ Justin Hicks on hearing he birdied all the even numbers on the back nine, and parred all the odd
“Yeah it’s kind of bedtime in the UK for me right now." ~ Graeme McDowell on a few swings he made finishing his round
“Obviously Graham being Canada’s best player right now and everyone is looking to see a Canadian win this tournament.” ~ Jim Furyk on the crowd’s support for Graham DeLaet today
“I’ve played in some big tournaments, but none as big as this.” ~ Taylor Pendrith on the Canadian Open being his first PGA TOUR event
ODDS AND ENDS
• Kevin Carrigan, winner of consecutive Canadian mid-amateur Championships, shot even par today. Not astounded? Consider this: Carrigan isn’t a full-time golfer. The 28-year-old is a financial planner and plays golf part-time.
• There are 11 players in the field who also participated in the 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal: Ernie Els (International), Vijay Singh (International), Geoff Ogilvy (International), Retief Goosen (International), Trevor Immelman (International), Stewart Appleby (International), Mike Weir (International), Jim Furyk (U.S.), Stewart Cink (U.S.), Lucas Glover (U.S.), Hunter Mahan (U.S.)
• Since 1997, just three players have made the RBC Canadian Open their maiden victory on the PGA TOUR: Nathan Green (2009), Chez Reavie (2008) and John Rollins (2002). Michael Putnam is working to add his name to that list come Sunday
• Graeme McDowell made only his fourth eagle of the year by holing out on the par-4 11th from 213 yards
• Greg Chalmers made 150’10” of putts in the first round
Michael Putnam and Tim Petrovic share lead at RBC Canadian