Vancouver, British Columbia - The opening day of the B.C. Golf Swing couldn’t have gone much better for Brian Carlson, who hit all 18 greens in regulation and made nine birdies on his way to a first-round 63 at Point Grey Golf & Country Club to kick off the Canada Life Open.
Teeing off early in the day, the 23-year old started smoothly, making par on his opening three holes before the flood gates opened at the mid-way point of his opening nine.
“I got it going on about hole No. 15, I made a nice birdie and then I made birdie on No. 17 and 18 to get things going,” said the 2018 Purdue University graduate, who took advantage of the adjusted back-nine start. “Teeing off on hole No. 11 really helps because you have Nos. 18, 1 and 3, and they’re all par fives, so you can get it going in the middle of the round.”
And “getting it going” is exactly what he did. Making six birdies in his next seven holes, Carlson sent the gracious Canada Life Open volunteers working the leaderboards into a frenzy as his name catapulted to the top, one birdie at a time.
“It was stress free, I hit every green in regulation, so I just made the putts today and everything was clicking,” said the 2012 and 2013 New England Junior Champion. “It’s not an easy golf course; I was in the zone, I guess, and took it one hole at a time.”
Two more birdies on his way into the house and Carlson gladly signed for an opening-round 63, two-strokes clear of closest-chasers Tyler Weworski and Jake Knapp at 7-under.
Carlson’s stellar round comes as little surprise to those who followed his senior season with Purdue. In 2017-18, the Madison, Connecticut native won two individual titles and is the only player in school history with three-career scores of 207 or lower (collegiate events are three-rounds long). He credits much of his success to head coach Rob Bradley.
“We have a fantastic golf coach,” said Carlson, who graduated with a degree in Economics. “Coach Bradley is up there with the best of the best when it comes to coaching. He helped me get prepared for college golf and we played a lot of good golf courses similar to (Point Grey), so it was good preparation.”
As shown by his blemish-free card on Thursday, one of his best traits as a player is the ability to avoid big numbers. In his senior spring with Purdue, Carlson made only one double bogey and one triple bogey in 306 holes of competition. His stellar season led to unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten honours.
“Being able to compete and going from tier to tier, becoming a bigger fish in the ocean, I just really love competing, so whenever I have the opportunity to do that, it’s a plus,” Carlson said after his round.
Though Carlson is alone at the top, a host of players hope to put a dent in the armor on Friday, with 15 players currently sitting at 4-under par.
Looking to pick up the first Canada Life Canadian Player of the Week Award of 2019, Taylor Pendrith and James Allenby are the top Canadians, among those jammed at 4-under par after Thursday.