PGA Tour: Hunter Mahan surges to top of leaderboard at Canadian Open
Hunter Mahan's supplied a string of late birdies in an eight-under-par 64 to secure the lead in the RBC Canadian Open.
Last Updated: 28/07/13 4:25pm
Fellow American John Merrick had set the clubhouse lead with an 11-under 133 after an impressive 10-under 62, including an eagle and eight birdies.
But Mahan started well with birdies at two three, four, 11 and 13 before finishing with gains at each of the last three holes to claim a two-shot advantage.
"I saw kind of going into nine he (Merrick) was at 11 ... 62 is a pretty good round," said Mahan.
"But I didn't really think I had to catch him. There's so much golf to be played here.
"I just wanted to go out there and not try to shoot for a score but just try to play golf.
"I think I was able to birdie the last three because I just kind of kept my head up and kept going."
Merrick, winner of the Northern Trust Open in February, was delighted with his improved form.
He said: "Everything kind of clicked today. I think I played a couple rounds in the past few weeks where I didn't make a birdie and that doesn't happen a lot.
"Maybe that all kind of came back together. Everything came in a rush."
Donald misses cut
Bubba Watson lies in third place on nine-under after improving his opening 68 by one shot, while a pair of 68s have put Patrick Reed on eight-under.
Australian Aaron Baddeley also posted two rounds of 68 so far and Tommy Gainey's eight-under 64 saw him surge up to sixth alongside Chris Kirk, who is also on seven under.
Overnight leader Brendan Steele had a dismal day as his 75 knocked him back to four under, while Greg Owen is the leading British challenger on six under after adding a 68 to his opening 70.
Owen was flirting with the cut line after he bogeyed nine and 10 to slip to two under, but he got back on track with a birdie at the 13th, and he then eagled the 16th before picking up another shot at the next in a strong finish.
Luke Donald will have the weekend off after an erratic 71 was one shot to many to survive the cut, but Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell is staying for the weekend as his sparking 65, including an eagle at the 16th, banished memories of his opening 76.