The Canadian Open got the perfect gift for its 100th anniversary -- native son Mike Weir in the lead with a flawless round of 5-under-par 66, and a showdown with the No. 1 player in golf looming on the weekend.
Weir made Glen Abbey sound like Sunday at Augusta National, sending the gallery into a frenzy with a 3-iron to within three feet for eagle to take the lead and a 5-iron stuck close for birdie on his final hole to finish one shot ahead of Vijay Singh among those who finished 36 holes yesterday in Oakville, Ontario.
"Today could not have gone much better," Weir said.
He was at 9-under 133 and in the lead at his national open for the first time.
In his first tournament since replacing Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world rankings, Singh certainly looked the part. After finishing his first nine holes in 40, he broke the Canadian Open record with a 28 on the front nine -- 7 under during one seven-hole stretch -- then added a 66 in the second round.
"I just started hitting it close, and all of a sudden I noticed it was 28," Singh said. "I was just trying to get it back as close to par as possible."
Craig Barlow, Weir's best friend from their mini-tour days, had a 69 and was at 6-under 142.
Because of a five-hour rain delay at the start of the tournament on Thursday, 73 players will return this morning to finish the second round. Pat Perez and Jesper Parnevik were at 6 under through 13 holes.
Phil Mickelson made two eagles to get to 1 over through nine holes, while David Duval overcame a shot in the water for double bogey and was 1 under through 12, and headed toward his second straight paycheck.
The crowd left the Abbey buzzing in anticipation of a duel between Canada's best and the world No. 1.
"He's playing the best of anyone. He's number one in the world for a reason," Weir said of Singh. "Hopefully, I'll be able to find the magic tomorrow."
The gallery will try to do its part.
The crowd stood eight rows deep behind some of the greens, some standing on coolers in the back, all of them giving Weir rousing ovations just for walking onto the green.
* LPGA TOUR: Christina Kim shot a 6-under 65 and held a one-stroke lead over Annika Sorenstam and rookie Shi Hyun Ahn after the first round of the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Broken Arrow, Okla.
Kim, coming off a second-place finish at the State Farm Classic, had seven birdies and bogeyed only one hole -- the par-4 11th after coming up short of the green on approach and putting three feet past the hole.
Sorenstam, playing for the first time in five weeks, and Ahn were one stroke in front of Reilley Rankin, another tour newcomer. Three golfers were tied at 68.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: European Tour veteran Des Smyth and television analyst Gary McCord shot 7-under 65s and were tied for the first-round lead at the $1.5 million Kroger Classic in Maineville, Ohio.
Tom Kite, David Eger and Doug Tewell were at 6 under, and six players were two strokes off the pace.
Fifty players finished below par on the 7,064-yard TPC at River's Bend, which turned out to be very accommodating after a nearly five-hour delay because of fog.