OAKVILLE, Ontario — Robert Garrigus made a birdie after a rock saved his ball from water and had a one-stroke lead at 9-under 63 on Thursday when play in the RBC Canadian Open was suspended because of dangerous weather.
“Hit it right in the middle of the water, and it hit a rock and bounced over the thing,” Garrigus said about the break on the par-5 13th.
The American wasn’t as fortunate on Nos. 10 and 17 at rain-softened Glen Abbey.
“Could have been 59 there if a couple putts didn’t lip out,” Garrigus said.
He made five straight birdies on Nos. 2-6, and birdied four of the last six holes — three of them par 5s.
“I think 20-something-under is going to win, so we’ll forget about it when I get home,” Garrigus said. “This was a good day, get to enjoy it for a minute, but I’ve got to close my mind off.”
He played in the morning, well before a more than two-hour delay because of high wind and potential lightning strikes. Play resumed at 6:44 p.m. and was stopped for the day at 8:04 p.m.
PGA Tour rookie Adam Schenk was second. He birdied the first five and last three.
“If you were in the fairway, it was much easier to attack, but you could still play from the rough, so I did that too often today but was fortunate to get away with it,” Schenk said. “But if you can get within 20 feet of the hole, you’re going to make some putts, especially in the morning. The greens are very smooth.”
The 40-year-old Garrigus won his lone PGA Tour title in 2010. Last week in the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky, he followed a third-round 66 with a 79 — making a quadruple bogey on the 17th.
“I prayed a lot this week, I’ll tell you that much,” Garrigus said. “There was a lot of prayers for my family, just to give me peace and calm, just to come out and not worry about it, not worry about where I am.”
Last year at Glen Abbey, Garrigus shot a 62 in the third round to match the course record.
“I love this place. I’ve always played well in Canada. There’s a lot of good vibes here. And the golf course is absolutely pure,” Garrigus said. “I mean, I was walking on the fairway on No. 8, and it just felt like you were walking on carpet, and you get up on the green, and it’s like grass. The conditions are absolutely perfect.”
Chris Stroud was third at 65, and Ben Crane, Hudson Swafford, Ian Poulter and late starter Byeong Hun An shot 66. Kevin Tway also was 6 under with three holes left.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson was at 68 in a group that included Steve Stricker, and Hunter Mahan and Canadian David Hearn.
“I think to me this is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen (Glen Abbey),” Hearn said. “I think the last couple years when it’s been firm, we’ve been in a little bit of drought condition. It didn’t play quite as well as I think it’s playing here today.”
Adam Hadwin, the top-ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour, matched Bubba Watson with a 70.
Two-time defending champion Jhonattan Vegas was 2 under through 16 holes.