Calgary’s Wes Heffernan, top ranked on the PGA Player Rankings, broke 70 for the second consecutive day, firing a three-under 69 to put himself two shots ahead of Jim Rutledge and Gord Burns at the BetRegal PGA Championship of Canada.
With the humidex hovering around 40 C at Beacon Hall Golf Club in Aurora, Ont., players adjusted from the wind of the first round to the heat on Wednesday.
“I had to put my rain gloves on because I was sweating so much,” said Heffernan. “I struggled in the middle of the round and had two loose shots. One, my hands slipped and the other I just wasn’t mentally feeling comfortable.”
For the second consecutive day, Heffernan, who is seeking the first PGA Championship of Canada victory of his career, played the back nine bogey free, once again playing the back side in just 33 strokes.
“I righted the ship to start the back nine and even though I missed a few short ones that could have made it even better, I hit my lines and played just as solid as yesterday,” said the 2019 PGA Assistants’ Champion of Canada.
“I feel like if I play well, I can always be in the mix, so to play solid and be leading is where I want to be and hopefully that’s where I can be the rest of the tournament,” he said.
Heffernan’s only blunder of the day came on the par four sixth hole when he recorded a double bogey, but birdies on Nos. Nine, 14, 15 and then what he called a ‘bonus’ birdie after holing a difficult putt up a slope on 18 got him in the clubhouse.
Playing alongside Heffernan on Wednesday was 2019 Head Professional of Canada champ Gordon Burns, who made eagle on the 15th hole on his way to a 67.
“It was tough out there today and I was just trying to make pars and if I hit a good shot, have a look at birdie and it worked out since I didn’t have a bogey until 18,” said Burns. “I was quite thrilled with the round, actually.”
“That was a timely eagle. I dug deep and tried swinging as hard as Wes does. He doesn’t even look like he’s swinging hard and he’s swinging it 120 (mph). I got it to a spot where I could hit six iron and hit it to 10 feet and made it. Maybe, my one hard swing of the day,” he said.
With his 67 coming a day after an even par 72, Burns heads into the final 36 holes in a tie for second place with Rutledge, who managed a one-under par 71 on Wednesday.
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