Brendan Steele fired a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead at the Canadian Open, starting his round with birdies on five of his first seven holes at Glen Abbey.
The 30-year-old Steele, winless on the PGA Tour, had eight birdies and a bogey overall, dropping a shot on his final hole -- the par-4 ninth.
Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner this year, was a stroke back, along with Scott Gardiner and Scott Brown. Kuchar eagled the par-5 18th hole, his ninth hole of the day.
Hunter Mahan and David Lingmerth shot 67, and Chez Reavie, the 2008 winner at Glen Abbey, was another stroke back, in a group that included Bubba Watson and Trevor Immelman.
Brandt Snedeker opened with a 70, and Ernie Els and defending champion Scott Piercy followed at 71. Piercy won last year at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.
Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel and Canadian Mike Weir shot 73, Dustin Johnson struggled to a 75, and Graeme McDowell had a 76.
Brad Fritsch was the top Canadian, at 69. David Hearn, a playoff loser this month in the John Deere Classic, followed at 70.
Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner, taking the 1954 event at Point Grey in Vancouver. Carl Keffer is the only Canadian-born champion, winning in 1909 and 1914. Albert Murray, a Canadian also born in England, won in 1908 and 1913.