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July 25 2013

2:30 PM

Late birdies boost for Canada hopefuls

By David McPherson, Special to PGATOUR.COM

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- When you are carrying the weight of the nation on your shoulders -- trying to end the 59-year-drought of a homegrown hero winning the RBC Canadian Open -- it helps to get paired with a friend and countryman who can share that burden.

That was the case in the opening round Thursday when Canada’s top two ranked players on the PGA TOUR -- Graham DeLaet and David Hearn -- were paired together in the morning wave.

Hearn was the steadier of the two, finishing with an economical 2-under 70. His playing partner struggled a bit to get anything going. DeLaet, still looked a little jet-lagged from playing in his first Open Championship last week, shot 72.

Both finished with a birdie on their final hole of the day (No. 9), however, which should give them a shot of confidence heading into Friday.

“It felt alright,” Hearn said. “I gave myself a lot of chances. I didn’t make as many of those putts as I would have liked, but overall, it was nice to finish with a birdie, and looking forward to maybe doing a little better tomorrow.”

For his part, DeLaet, described is even-par round as up-and-down. “It was pretty Jekyll & Hyde out there,” he said.

The 31-year-old didn’t blame his schedule, which includes five straight tournaments, for his erratic play. He hit only hit six of 14 fairways, and for someone who leads the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation managed just 11 greens hit Thursday. All things considered, he was happy with his opening round.

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