OAKVILLE, Ont. -- John Merrick shot one of the best rounds in Canadian Open history.
But it still wasn't enough.
Merrick shot a 10-under 62 to take the early clubhouse lead in the second round of the RBC Canadian Open on Friday, but Hunter Mahan caught him with an 8-under 64 performance for an overall score of 13-under par.
"I saw kind of going into 9, I saw he was at 11, and it was weird because I think he was at 7 or 8 or something, and then he was at 11. Sixty-two is a pretty good round," said Mahan. "But I didn't really think I had to catch him. There's so much golf to be played here.
"I think I just wanted to go out there and not try to shoot for a score but just try to play golf."
Merrick's morning round tied a course record at the par-72, 7,253-yard Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., to take the early clubhouse lead at 11 under. Greg Norman set the mark at the 1986 Canadian Open.
"I actually kind of had a bad warm up this morning. It was strange," said Merrick. "I wasn't hitting it that great and I didn't feel that good. Maybe that makes you focus a little bit more, try to figure out what's going on. And I was able to kind of work a couple things out and got off to a good start and eagled the second hole, which kind of calmed me down.
"Whenever you try to force things in golf you never get what you want to do."
Bubba Watson sat third at the $5.6-million purse PGA Tour stop after a 5-under 67 in the threesome ahead of Mahan.
"As long as I can keep my patience and I can just have fun out there, and hopefully this weather just doesn't bother me too bad, and then we'll have fun this weekend," said Watson.
Mahan was pleased with Friday's performance and saw it as a stepping stone after he tied for ninth at 3-over par in last week's British Open.
"Yeah, I kind of built off last week," said Mahan of Friday's round. "I got some good things I'm doing with my swing and everything, and feel good about that. I'm just going out there and really trying to trust my game. Just allow things to happen and not get in the way of myself and be as present as I can and keep my head up and keep moving forward. And just kind of letting my abilities and everything that I'm doing in my game, let it try to come out."
Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., was the top Canadian after shooting a 5-under 67 in the second round, putting him at 4 under for the tournament.
"Yeah, it was a great day. It was one of those rounds that could have been really anything. I could have been 10 under pretty easily, I think," said Weir. "But played great, and it was exciting to do that for the fans."
He jumped over several of his fellow countrymen, including first-round top Canadian Brad Fritsch, from Ottawa, who shot 1-over par on the second day of the tournament to fall to 2 under overall. Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., caught up to Fritsch on the leaderboard after shooting 1-under 71 for the second day in a row.
"It's a great opportunity to get experience out here on the PGA Tour," said Sloan. "Obviously this is where I want to be, this is where I want my career to be. So I'm just committed to being focused out there on the golf course."
David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., was the other Canadian to make the cut after a 1-over 73 afternoon.
Fritsch was impressed with Merrick's score.
"I don't think they played all the holes today -- 62," said Fritsch. "He probably played 16 holes."
Merrick couldn't believe the round he'd had himself -- he had to double-check his final score with his caddy.
"It didn't feel like 62 at all," said Merrick. "(I) made that putt on the last hole and told my caddie, I was like, 'was that 10 under?' He was like, 'I think so.'
"I was just trying to keep making birdies and not quite think about what I was doing."
Merrick was pleased to be playing so well at a national open.
"It's a very prestigious event," said Merrick. "Yeah, it's a great honour to be here and playing the tournament, and it's definitely one that you look at to play well at, definitely."
First-round leader Brendan Steele struggled in the afternoon, shooting a 3-over 75 to drop into a group tied for 26th. Two-time Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk was in a group tied for 16th at 5-under par, while Scott Piercy, last year's title holder, was tied for 56th at 2 under.
A cut line of 1-under par eliminated several Canadians, including Graham Delaet (73) of Weyburn, Sask., amateur Corey Conners (74) of Listowel, Ont., Eugene Wong (71) of North Vancouver, B.C., Calgary's Stephen Ames (73), Peter Laws (74) of Milton, Ont., amateur Adam Svensson (72) of Surrey, B.C., Bryn Parry (75) of North Vancouver, B.C., and Brian Hadley (75) of Sarnia, Ont.
Also cut were amateur Eric Banks (84) of Truro, N.S., Mackenzie Hughes (75) of Dundas, Ont., Riley Wheeldon (75) of Comox, B.C., amateur Kevin Carrigan (73) from Victoria, Toronto's Albin Choi (73) and Adam Hadwin (71) of Abbotsford, B.C.
There will be a second cut after Saturday's third round because more than 78 players made Friday's cut.