OAKVILLE, Ontario - Brendan Steele topped the Canadian Open leaderboard Thursday at 7-under 65, birdieing five of the first seven holes on his back nine at Glen Abbey.
"I love being up here," Steele said. "I played in '06 and '07 on PGA Tour Canada now. And really, got me ready to play the Nationwide Tour, which I played in '08, '09 and '10. It was a great progression in my life. I had a great time up here. Made a lot of friends and spent two summers traveling the country."
The 30-year-old American had eight birdies and a bogey, dropping a shot on his final hole - the par-4 ninth. He won the 2011 Texas Open for his lone PGA Tour title.
"Really, just an overall good day," Steele said. "Hit a lot of good shots and was able to hole some putts. When you have a good round like that and you play that well, you kind of have everything going. But today was probably the most complete round that I've had all year, so that was kind of nice. Didn't miss many greens, didn't hit many shots off line, and I was able to roll a few putts in."
Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner this year, was a stroke back along with Scott Gardiner and Scott Brown. Kuchar eagled the par-5 18th hole, his ninth hole of the day.
Senior British Open
SOUTHPORT, England - Gene Sauers mastered a stiff breeze to shoot a 3-under 67 Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Senior British Open.
The 50-year-old American had all pars on the front nine for a 34 at sunny Royal Birkdale. He then birdied the 10th and bogeyed the 11th. His three successive birdies from the 15th left him at 33 for the back nine.
"I hit a lot of solid shots in the wind, so it didn't really mess with me too much," Sauers said. "I'm really pleased with the way I played. This is only my third British Open and it's a great privilege and honor to be here."
Four players were at 68, among them 2010 British Senior Champion Bernhard Langer. The German was joined by South Africa's David Frost, Australia's Peter Senior and Frankie Minoza of the Philippines. Only 10 of the 144 players bettered par.
Sauers is 23rd on the Champions Tour money list and has made 11 cuts from 11 starts this year with two second-place finishes and a third.
At 69 were former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and fellow Americans Gary Hallberg, John Cook and Jeff Hart as well as Australia's Peter Fowler.
Defending champion Fred Couples and Mark O'Meara, who won the 1998 British Open at Birkdale, shot 74s. Colin Montgomerie, their playing partner and a senior rookie, was two strokes better.
MOSCOW - England's Simon Dyson, Sweden's Rikard Karlberg and China's Liang Wen-chong shot 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead in the European Tour's Russian Open.