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With playoff beard, DeLaet enjoying finest form

Graham DeLaet of Canada hits off the tenth tee during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Massachus
Graham DeLaet of Canada hits off the tenth tee during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Massachus

By Simon Evans

NORTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Canada's Graham DeLaet is following the ice hockey tradition of not shaving during the playoffs and the superstition appears to be working after he shot the week's best round so far at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Sunday.

DeLaet's nine-under 62 at TPC Boston, coming after he bogeyed the first hole, left him at 16-under par for the tournament, just three strokes behind leader Sergio Garcia.

A similar round on Monday will secure his place on the Internationals team for October's Presidents Cup in Ohio and could even bring him his first PGA Tour win.

"It would mean the world to me to be on that team, there's no question," said DeLaet after Sunday's round.

"But at the same time when I've been on the golf course I've been focused on what I need to do and I'm proud of the way I've handled it because there is a lot of pressure on the outside.

"I've been playing well so it's easier to stay in the moment when you're trusting your golf swing and making a few putts as well," he said.

DeLaet missed the cut at the Canadian Open and the PGA Championship but bounced back impressively at the Barclays last week where he finished T2 after a final round 65.

This week, with the 'playoff beard' even scragglier, DeLaet has shot rounds of 67, 68 and 62 at the par-71 course.

"Last week definitely helped. Sunday, I mean that was a tough golf course. The wind was up there and I was able to put together a nice round," he said.

"Just coming in here this week I was really feeling good about the way I was hitting it and the way I was putting it.

"And especially when you can make a few putts early you can just get a little bit more confidence going.

"I just hope that I can have half that kind of day on Monday," he said.

DeLaet had a busy morning before his round, taking his wife to the airport for her trip to Italy before being caught in the rainstorms while driving back on the highway.

His 62 tied his career low and was just one stroke off the course record.

If, as expected, DeLaet is named in the Internationals team next week by captain Nick Price, he will become just the second Canadian following Mike Weir to make the team.

And for another few weeks at least, the beard is staying.

"I'm Canadian, that's what we do in the playoffs, you don't shave until you're done," he laughed.

(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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