Rory McIlroy’s late charge energises Canadian Open

McIlroy one behind leader Wyndham Clark with Shane Lowry three shots off the lead

Wyndham Clark retained his one-stroke lead Friday at the Canadian Open in Toronto, but all eyes were on Rory McIlroy, who made a pair of late birdies to sit in a group one stroke off the pace at the halfway point.

McIlroy birdied the 15th and 17th holes on Friday, picking up four strokes on Clark, who finished the day with an even-par 70 and remained seven under par for the tournament with a two-day total of 133. McIlroy was joined at 134 by Americans Alex Smalley, Jim Knous and Keith Mitchell, and Matt Fitzpatrick of England.

"Overall it was a good score," McIlroy said. "I scrambled well when I needed to. I didn't really take advantage of how well I hit it off the tee. But overall I felt a couple under was a fair reflection of how the day went."

McIlroy started the day three strokes back but slipped as far as five behind before his late charge injected the day with excitement as the golf world continues to curiously eye the tug of war between the PGA Tour and the new LIV, which is holding its first event this weekend in London.

McIlroy, the defending champion and four-time Major winner, overcame some struggles with his wedges and finished strong and Clark and Fitzpatrick came back to the field with their late-round play.

Fitzpatrick actually held a two-shot lead after he birdied the 11th, but his game fell apart with a double-bogey on 14 and he went bogey, bogey, bogey on the final three holes.

"Just a poor finish," Fitzpatrick said. "Just didn't hole the putts I needed to on the last three. Just pathetic. Yeah, just pathetic finish really with the putter."

Clark, who breezed through a 63 in Thursday’s opening round as he – like Fitzpatrick – seeks his first PGA tour victory. Friday he parred his first seven holes before a birdie on the eighth. It was one of only three birdies he carded Friday, later bogeying 12, 15, and 16, which allowed the field to close in.

"Overall I played really good. I felt really confident with my game," Clark said. "I had some little mishaps coming in, but other than that I played some great golf for 36 holes. If I do that again, I'll have a great chance come Sunday."

World No 1 and FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler is three strokes back at four-under 136, the same mark as Shane Lowry, who carded a one-under 69 to take a share of eighth position and in a strong position to launch a weekend challenge.

Leaderboard

US unless stated, par 70

133 Wyndham Clark 63 70

134 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 64 70, Jim Knous 67 67, Rory McIlroy (N Irl) 66 68, Keith Mitchell 67 67, Alex Smalley 67 67

135 Austin Cook 71 64

136 Sam Burns 67 69, Doug Ghim 65 71, Lee Hodges 66 70, Charley Hoffman 68 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 67 69, Patrick Rodgers 67 69, Scottie Scheffler 69 67, Matt Wallace (Eng) 70 66

137 Tony Finau 66 71, Danny Lee (Nzl) 68 69, Adam Long 70 67, Ben Martin 71 66, Harold Varner III 65 72

138 Ryan Armour 72 66, Aaron Cockerill (Can) 70 68, John Huh 69 69, Chris Kirk 69 69, Kelly Kraft 69 69, Justin Lower 70 68, Ryan Moore 69 69, Brandt Snedeker 68 70, Nick Taylor (Can) 70 68, Vaughn Taylor 68 70, Justin Thomas 69 69, Brendon Todd 69 69

139 Paul Barjon (Fra) 72 67, Ben Crane 72 67, Adam Hadwin (Can) 69 70, Hank Lebioda 69 70, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 69 70, Seung-Yul Noh (Kor) 69 70, Cameron Percy (Aus) 71 68, Aaron Rai (Eng) 69 70, Justin Rose (Eng) 69 70, Chase Seiffert 69 70, Robert Streb 69 70, Danny Willett (Eng) 71 68

140 Corey Conners (Can) 71 69, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 70, Mark Hubbard 67 73, Andrew Novak 72 68, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 67 73, Scott Piercy 70 70, David Skinns (Eng) 71 69, Austin Smotherman 72 68, Adam Svensson (Can) 72 68, Bo Van Pelt 71 69, JJ Henry 69 71

141 Jonas Blixt (Swe) 67 74, Rafael Cabrera (Esp) 71 70, Brett Drewitt (Aus) 71 70, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 74 67, Brandon Hagy 73 68, Nick Hardy 68 73, Kramer Hickok 68 73, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 66 75, Trey Mullinax 70 71, Sean O’Hair 70 71, Cameron Smith (Aus) 76 65, Sahith Theegala 71 70, Dawie van der Walt (Rsa) 73 68, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 71 70, Vincent Whaley 72 69,

Missed cut

142 Hayden Buckley 70 72, Tyler Duncan 76 66, Bill Haas 69 73, David Lingmerth (Swe) 72 70, David Lipsky 71 71, Stuart MacDonald (Can) 70 72, Seth Reeves 72 70, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 70 72, Roger Sloan (Can) 70 72, Mike Weir (Can) 72 70

143 Sang-Moon Bae (Kor) 72 71, Jonathan Byrd 69 74, Joshua Creel 74 69, Scott Gutschewski 74 69, Martin Laird (Sco) 74 69, Camilo Villegas (Col) 72 71

144 Yi Cao (Chn) 72 72, Cameron Champ 73 71, Luke Donald (Eng) 68 76, Chris Gotterup 72 72, David Hearn (Can) 72 72, Rasmus Hoejgaard (Den) 72 72, Ben Kohles 72 72, Henrik Norlander (Swe) 71 73, J. T. Poston 73 71, Sam Ryder 73 71, J. J. Spaun 73 71, Braden Thornberry 72 72

145 Wesley Bryan 70 75, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 72 73, Jared du Toit (Can) 71 74, A.J. Ewart (Can) 73 72, Brice Garnett 72 73, Greyson Sigg 76 69, Martin Trainer 73 72, Trevor Werbylo 72 73, Parker McLachlin 73 72

146 Ricky Barnes 70 76, Myles Creighton (Can) 72 74, Joseph Deraney 74 72, Tommy Gainey 70 76, Wes Heffernan (Can) 74 72, Jim Herman 76 70, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 74 72, Callum Tarren (Eng) 75 71, John Merrick 72 74, Jeffrey Kang 72 74

147 Jason Dufner 72 75, Mark Hensby (Aus) 76 71, Stephan Jaeger (Ger) 71 76, Sung-Hoon Kang (Kor) 75 72, DA Points 71 76, Curtis Thompson 75 72

148 Joseph Bramlett 72 76, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 74 74, Max McGreevy 71 77, Brian Stuard 72 76, Jason Bohn 69 79, John Huston 76 72, John Rollins 70 78

149 Richard S Johnson (Swe) 75 74, Peter Malnati 77 72, Dylan Wu 71 78

150 Bo Hoag 78 72, Brendan Leonard (Can) 78 72, Max Sekulic (Can) 75 75, Brian Davis (Eng) 78 72

151 Patrick Flavin 75 76

152 Scott Brown 75 77, Robert Garrigus 75 77, Johnny Travale (Can) 76 76

153 Callum Davison (Can) 76 77

154 Nick Watney 79 75, Brad Adamonis 75 79

155 Albin Choi (Can) 78 77, Harry Higgs 75 80, George McNeill 78 77, Matthew Every 82 73

156 Johnson Wagner 78 78, Jonathan Kaye 77 79, Ted Purdy 75 81

167 William Buhl (Can) 81 86