In the spirit of the season that relative unknowns have been making headlines, there’s an even more obscure one, Brent Delahoussaye, atop of the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open. Delahoussaye (I kind of like typing his name) posted an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey on his way to shooting an eight-under 62 to tie a tournament record and break the course record at St. George’s. No disrespect to the 29-year-old from Greenville, SC, but I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit that it’s surprising he’s the first-round leader. In fact, he basically said just that.
“I am shocked,” Delahoussaye said. “I mean I knew I was playing well, and I didn’t even really know how many under I was at one point. So I just kind of kept going and kept trying to make birdies. So yeah, I am a little shocked that it’s the tournament record and the course record.”
A befuddled reporter asked him to tell them a little more about himself because information was sparse in the media guide and he was “still trying to piece this together a little bit. No offense.”
None was taken by Delahoussaye, who replied, “No. It’s understandable. I’ve played bad all year, to be honest.”
The former Clemson player has just one professional victory, which came in 2006 at a Hooters mini-tour event. In the past two years, he played on the Nationwide Tour, but didn’t make much noise. At Q-school last December, he qualified for the PGA Tour right on the number. In 12 starts this season, he’s made three cuts with his best finish being T53 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
A humble Delahoussaye also confessed, “This course doesn’t set up good for me, so I’m just going to go out there with a good attitude and not worry about it.” What he means is that he’s not a long hitter and the course was setup easier than he expected.
“After playing the practice round, I thought it was going to play really hard, to be honest, and for some reason, like I said, when I woke up and saw the scores today I was like, I don’t know if they changed courses or what, but it just wasn’t playing the same that I thought it was in the practice round.”
Now as we know, it’s important to remember this is a 72-hole tournament and unless he continues to stay in contention, he’ll be nearly forgotten when Sunday rolls around. But from the little we do know about our first-round leader at the Canadian Open — by that, I mean, what I’ve learned by reading his press conference transcript — he’s not a hard guy to root for.
Trailing Delahoussaye are two more mystery men, 45-year-old journeyman Vance Veazey and former University of Washington superstar Brock Mackenzie, who both fired 64, the previous course record.
While Brock’s name might ring some bells to those who followed college and amateur golf, he’s also LPGA player Paige Mackenzie’s older brother, whom I also grew up playing junior golf with. Now a full-time Canadian Tour player, he was a standout in the college and amateur ranks. I haven’t seen Brock’s swing in years, but I remember it sure was sweet and he was one of the best ballstrikers out there. It’s a surprise we haven’t seen his name on PGA Tour leaderboards until now, but blame it on this darn fickle game.
“I think it’s huge,” said Brock. “I mean obviously if you can put a good week together — I know I’ve had one good round so far. If I can put a good week together, then who knows what kind of doors it could open.”
Well, we know who I’ll be rooting for this week.
Meanwhile, Hunter Mahan, who has struggled in recent weeks, posted a five-under 65 and stands at T4. The other usual suspects, such as Paul Casey, Tim Clark and Retief Goosen, are just a few shots behind in striking range.
Expect the leaderboard to look a little different by the end of the day on Friday. Well, who knows, perhaps Delahoussaye will surprise the skeptics and manage to follow his career round with another strong performance. But as he surmised, it’s likely St. George’s won’t be as susceptible to a shoot-out as the tournament progresses.
[AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn]