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David Skinns shoots 8-under 62 to take 1st-round lead in RBC Canadian Open

HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) — David Skinns had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and shot an 8-under 62 on Thursday at Hamilton Golf and Country Club to take the first-round lead in the RBC Canadian Open.

Playing in the afternoon with the greens still mostly receptive after rain earlier in the week, Skins pulled ahead with a 47-foot birdie putt on his 17th hole — the par-3 eighth. The 41-year-old Englishman was a stroke ahead of morning starters Sam Burns and Sean O’Hair.

“Drove it pretty well. I left myself in a lot of good spots,” said Skinns, winless on the PGA Tour. “Around here, it seems like that’s half the battle, to give yourself birdie looks. I was able to attack some pins that maybe if I wasn’t in such a good spot, I wouldn’t have been able to. ”

Robert MacIntyre of Scotland had a 64 in the afternoon. Ryan Palmer opened with a 65, and two-time Canadian Open champion Rory McIlroy was another shot back with Ryan Fox, Andrew Novak, Erik van Rooyen, Nick Hardy and Trace Crowe.

Defending champion Nick Taylor shot a 72, playing alongside fellow Canadian Taylor Pendrith and McIlroy. Last year at Oakdale in Toronto, Taylor made an 80-foot eagle putt in a playoff to become the first Canadian to win the event since 1954.

“Usually the morning round for me on a Thursday there’s not that many people there,” Taylor said. “The energy was high, which was great, gets the adrenaline going, which is fun that early in the morning, gets you focused on what you need to do. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way, but the crowds have been amazing.”

McIlroy won the Canadian Open in 2019 the last time it was in Hamilton and again in 2022 at St. George's in Toronto.

“One of the main reasons I love coming back here is because of that atmosphere," McIlroy said. "Playing with two Canadians today, it was exactly what I expected.”

Pendrith opened with a 72.

“We had fun," Pendrith said. “Rory played, scored, really nicely. It was fun to play with Nick.”

Skinns is a former Canadian tour player.

“I had a couple of great years up here.” Skinns said. “It’s one of my favorite countries to come visit. I’ve seen it from West Coast to East Coast and kind of loved every part of it.”

Skinns birdied the par-4 12th — hitting a wedge from 104 yards to 4 feet — and began his big run on the par-5 17th. He followed with a 189-yard shot to 2 1/2 feet on the par-4 18th and made a 14-footer on the par-4 first. He holed a 35-footer on the par-4 third and added birdies on the par-5 fourth and and par-4 sixth.

“The golf up here is pretty cool,” Skinns said. “The bentgrass and the way this golf course looks, it’s one of the best looking courses I’ve seen. Definitely, a joy to be back.”

Burns eagled the par-5 17th and fourth.

“I think with all the rain we had early in the week the greens are still pretty receptive,” Burns said. “It makes a big difference on par-5s when you have a long iron or a wood coming in there to be able to stop the ball pretty quick.”

David Hearn was the low Canadian after a 67.

“Hey, how about that?” the 44-year-old Hearn said. “Maybe experience still has something.”

Fifty-four-year-old Mike Weir shot 68.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf