Canada’s Corey Conners one off lead at BMW Championship

Canada’s Corey Conners needs a solid finish this week to guarantee himself a spot in next week’s Tour Championship.

Halfway through the BMW Championship, the native of Listowel, Ont., is on the right track.

Conners was one shot back of leader Adam Scott of Australia after shooting a 4-under 67 in the second round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs event on Friday in Delaware.

Conners sits 29th in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 30 after this event to qualify for next week’s Tour Championship.

At the conclusion of his round on Friday, Conners was projected to jump to 18th.

“It’s certainly a goal at the start of the year, trying to play your way into the Tour Championship. Giving myself a chance here with a good week, and just trying to play my game, have some fun and see what happens,” Conners reporters told after his round.

The Canadian is looking to advance to the playoff finale for the third time in the past four years.

Conners capped his second round with a nine-footer for birdie, getting him to 7-under for the tournament.

“I felt like the last two days I’ve played really solid, got the ball in position off the tee, had a lot of good iron shots,” Conners said. “Felt like I’m striking the ball well, and I’m just trying to give myself as many looks as possible. Certainly left a few out there today, but feel good about the game going into the weekend.”

Scott felt he was playing well enough that he should start seeing some better scores at some point. That moment appears to have arrived at just the right time.

Scott put together another tidy round Friday except for one hole — a double bogey on the 17th _ for a 2-under 69.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler opened with three straight birdsies and then cooled for 67, while Jordan Spieth’s hopes for a bogey-free round ended by a few inches when his tee shot caught the sticky first cut instead of the fairway. His bogey gave him a 67.

They were one shot behind, along with Cameron Young (68) and Conners.

Scott wasn’t sure how much golf would be on is plate in August. He was No. 77 in the FedEx Cup, not assured of even making it to the BMW Championship, until a tie for the fifth last week in the FedEx Cup opener playoffs.

That was enough of a spark, and now he’s looking to cash in as one of the top 30 players who make it to the FedEx Cup finale next week in Atlanta for the Tour Championship.

“I’m in great shape going into the weekend. I don’t even know when the last time I led a tournament was,” Scott said.

He won at Riviera in 2020. His last 36-hole lead was at Doral for a World Golf Championship in 2016, which he went on to win.

“I certainly haven’t had my best stuff for quite a while. It’s been a battle for sure,” he said. “But that’s how this game is. I’d like to make the most of this position now over the next 36 holes.”

A brief look behind would remind him it won’t be easy, and the Australian knows this.

Spieth has looked solid over two days at Wilmington Country Club, with only one bogey in each round. He missed the cut last week and feels his postseason didn’t start until Monday when he arrived at Wilmington. That’s not just about trying to erase a bad memory.

Spieth headed to southern tip of Baja California after the British Open, wanting a break before the hectic finish to the season. One problem. Upon returning to Dallas, every course he plays was closed, and his only option was from a stall in a practice facility.

Only when he arrived in Tennessee last week did he realize his swing had stayed on vacation, and his coach wasn’t available to join him until Delaware. He turned it around quickly.

“I feel like I’m doing everything good, nothing spectacular, but I feel like in every facet of my game, it’s trending and improving, and I know what to do to get it better and better,” Spieth said. “Certainly feels really good. Coming into the weekend, it’s a good opportunity to just have a lot of trust, focus on trying to win this golf tournament, not think about next week.”

Scheffler also missed the cut last week and joined Spieth and others at Pine Valley on Sunday. And then he opened with three short birdies, didn’t make too many mistakes the rest of the way and will be in the final group with Scott on Saturday.

Xander Schauffele holed out with a wedge on the 17th hole for an eagle and a 69, and he was in he group two shots behind that included defending champion Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, who chipped in for birdie on his final hole for another 68.

Scott didn’t get a finish quite that good. He was sailing along on a warm, breezy afternoon when he pushed his tee shot near a tree. The lie was clean, but his punch shot toward the fairway hung up in rough. From there he didn’t reach the green or get up-and-down, and all that meant a double bogey.

“It’s a good reminder for the weekend that I’ve really got to keep it under control and don’t want to have too many get off the map and get out of position around here,” Scott said.

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, BC, are at 3 under, while Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., is at 1 over.

— With files from AP

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