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Aussie pair shoot 65 at Canadian Open
15:42 AEST Fri Jul 27 2012

Australians Stuart Appleby and Gavin Coles are three shots off the lead after the first round of the US PGA's Canadian Open on Thursday, but it was a forgettable day for British Open champion Ernie Els.

American Scott Piercy set the pace with a course-record 8-under 62 to take a one-stroke lead, taking advantage of perfect scoring conditions at a rain-softened Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario.

The 33-year-old Las Vegas player eagled the par-5 fourth and 17th holes and had five birdies and one bogey.

England's Greg Owen and fellow American William McGirt were a shot back, while Robert Garrigus had a 64.

"I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens today," said Piercy.

"I was rolling the ball well, and obviously you've got to make some putts, too."

Appleby and Coles joined a group of seven players, including Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas, South Africa's Charl Schwartzel and Fiji's Vijay Singh, who carded 65.

Els, who won his fourth major on Sunday at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, opened with a two-over 72 to leave him 10 strokes off the pace.

Piercy collected his first PGA Tour victory at the Reno-Tahoe Open last year and he is off to a good start this season.

He finished third two weeks ago at the John Deere Classic and also tied for fifth four months ago at The Transitions Championship.

Owen also had an eagle to go with eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey for his 63.

He had the battle through the pain barrier after injuring his hand a week ago at the British Open.

"I wasn't even sure whether I would be playing this week," said Owen.

"Obviously when I started that way, I'm like, okay, well, not a lot lost because I wasn't sure I would play anyway. But I started playing well and just keep moving, just keep momentum going and that's the way it was going."

Adam Hadwin, 23, was the top Canadian with a 66 in the event which also serves as the national championship.

Canadian golfing icon Mike Weir, a former Masters champion, hit a 72 to be tied for 112th with Els.

Jim Furyk, a Canadian Open winner in 2006 and 2007, shot 70.


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