OAKVILLE, ONTARIO – Hideki Matsuyama opened his account at the Canadian Open on Thursday with a first-round 69 that left him four strokes back of the leader, Brendan Steele of the United States.
Steele is at 7-under-par 65 at Glen Abbey Golf Club, giving him a one-stroke lead over Australian Scott Gardiner and Americans Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar. Matsuyama, who finished in a tie for sixth at last week’s British Open, is among 12 golfers tied for 16th at 3-under-par 69. Ryo Ishikawa is in 69th after opening with an even-par 72.
“I think I got off to a good start,” said Matsuyama, who overcame some poor shots at the start of his round.
His round began on the par-4 No. 10, where he hooked a 3-wood into the trees. From there, Matsuyama coolly found the fairway with his second shot and finished with a 10-foot par putt. He followed with another 10-foot par putt on No. 11.
The 21-year-old university student picked up strokes on the 15th and 18th, where his second shot took him over the green. He ran off two more birdies on Nos. 1 and 2. His tee shots, however, came back to torment him in the closing stages of his round as he dropped two strokes on the front nine.
“There are still some areas I need to improve on,” said Matsuyama, who arrived on Monday from Scotland. “I think some of that may be due to fatigue.”