Former world No 1 Vijay Singh rolled back the years to sit two shots off the Canadian Open second-round lead while The Open’s runner-up Matt Kuchar battled to make the cut.
Singh, who won the tournament in 2004, will become the oldest winner in PGA Tour history with victory at Glen Abbey in Oakville and mixed six birdies with two bogeys in a four-under 68 to trail Martin Flores.
The Fijian 54-year-old, a 34-time winner on the PGA Tour who has not triumphed since 2008, is off to his best tournament start all season after opening with a 66 while Flores carded an impressive second successive 6-under 66 to reach 12-under-par.
“If I turn up at a golf tournament and know that I can’t win, I might as well go home,” said Singh, who could have competed in this week’s Senior British Open. “I just have to work hard and bring it to the golf course. Otherwise, might as well not show up. So that’s what I’m doing.”
“I’ve come here a lot of times. I’ve played this golf course many a time and I’m pretty familiar with what the golf course gives you.”
If Singh, the oldest player in the field, can clinch victory on Sunday, he would eclipse the record held by Sam Snead, who won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at the age of 52 years, 10 months and eight days.
Flores made a second successive eagle on the par-five second and three consecutive birdies from the 16th to the 18th to maintain his consistent start to the tournament.
“The course is perfect,” said Flores, winless on the PGA Tour. “But it is a little soft right now, especially coming into the greens as compared to previous years. So the birdies are going to be out there for sure. Unless the wind picks up, but I think it’s very gettable.”
American Gary Woodland soared up the leaderboard with a 9-under round of 63, the day’s lowest, and lies a stroke behind the lead and came close to beating the course record of 62 set by Leonard Thompson in 1981.
Matt Kuchar, coming off a second-place finish at The Open, rallied to make the cut with a 4-under 68 to reach 5-under leaving him seven strokes behind Flores, a day after fighting dizzy spells. Bubba Watson matched playing partner Kuchar at 5 under, following an opening 66 with a 73.
Kuchar made five birdies over the final three holes to make the cut-line by one shot. World No 1 Dustin Johnson, who is still feeling the effects of his back injury sustained prior to the Masters, shot 69 to reach 8 under.
Defending champion Jhonattan Vegas was 9 under after a 69. Graham DeLaet and Mackenzie Hughes, both at eight-under and in a share of 14th place, remain in the hunt to become Canada’s first homegrown champion since Pat Fletcher in 1954.