David Skinns leads Canadian Open as Rory McIlroy makes positive start after

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David Skinns of England is the unlikely first-round leader at the RBC Canadian Open after he fired an 8-under 62 in the first round Thursday at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.

A 42-year-old journeyman who has yet to win his first PGA Tour title, Skinns is joined by 41-year-old Sean O’Hair near the top of the leaderboard. O’Hair is tied for second with fellow American Sam Burns at seven under.

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre is fourth at six under while two-time Canadian Open champion Rory McIlroy is part of a tie for sixth at four under.

This is Skinns’ first career 18-hole lead on tour, although he has held at least a share of the lead after 54 holes twice this season. He had top-10 finishes at the Cognizant Classic and the Texas Children’s Houston Open, the first two top-10s of his PGA career.

“I think once you know your good golf can compete, it’s a lot easier to trust that and to have those feelings of comfort a little more than maybe otherwise if you hadn’t been there before and held up,” Skinns said. “Yeah, not particularly uncomfortable right now.”

Skinns started his round on the back nine and made his move at the turn, when he strung together six birdies in a seven-hole stretch between the 17th and fifth.

He stuck his approach at the par-four 18th inside three feet of the cup and later drained a 35-foot birdie putt at the third and a 47-foot birdie at the eighth.

It may be premature, but Skinns was asked what a win would mean to him.

“I think everyone knows the answer to that,” he said. “I’ve been working at it for 20-something years. I’ve got to play [Friday] first, though.”

O’Hair made a 27-foot eagle putt at the par-five 17th hole to ensure he tied his lowest career round on tour. He was originally the sixth alternate for the event and was the last player added to the field Tuesday after a series of withdrawals.

“I like to be prepared. I just, I didn’t have an option,” O’Hair said. “I think when you don’t really have an option and you’re kind of making a big deal about it, it almost hurts you, so I kind of just said, ‘look, I don’t really expect a whole lot today, I haven’t really been playing that great either’, so to come out here and shoot the score I did today was definitely kind of a shocker for me.”

Burns, though a five-time winner on tour, has not had the best season so far.

Luckily for him, he got two eagle putts to go Thursday, a 37-footer at 17 and a 10-footer at the par-five fourth.

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

“That makes a huge difference. So I think that was really the difference in my round today. Making two eagles kind of kickstarted me and it was overall a solid round.”

Defending champion Nick Taylor of Canada opened with a two-over 72 and is in danger of missing Friday’s 36-hole cut.

Watch the second round of the RBC Canadian Open from 5pm on Friday live on Sky Sports Golf

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