Golf-Conners and fellow Canadians right at home at PGA Championship
There may be no place like home, but Oak Hill Country Club is proving close enough for the Canadians playing in this week's PGA Championship where Corey Conners grabbed a share of the halfway lead on Friday.
There may be no place like home, but Oak Hill Country Club is proving close enough for the Canadians playing in this week's PGA Championship where Corey Conners grabbed a share of the halfway lead on Friday. A record six Canadians were in the 156-player starting field at Oak Hill, which is about a 90-minute drive from the Canadian border, and they are relishing in the support from their many compatriots who have turned up in droves this week.
"It's been a pretty special week so far," said Conners. "I think being so close to Canada there's a lot of Canadian fans out here. They're cheering me on. That definitely feels good." It has been 20 years since Mike Weir won the Masters to become Canada's first male major champion but the impact of his achievement, which grew the game in his home country, has been evident on the game's biggest stages.
The Canadian contingent at Oak Hill includes three players who have already recorded wins on the PGA Tour this season in Conners, Adam Svensson and Mackenzie Hughes. Taylor Pendrith, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor make up the other half. Conners, Pendrith, Hadwin and Svensson finished among the top 20 through the opening round, marking the first time ever that four players representing Canada were among the top 20 at the conclusion of any round at any major championship.
After the second round, Conners, Pendrith and Svensson were among the top 10, which marks the first time in majors history that three players representing Canada are among the top 10 after either 36, 54 or 72 holes. "There's so much support. Tons of Canadians here, with the border being so close," said Pendrith, who is in a share of eighth place and four shots back of Conners.
"Feel very comfortable here, but we're always rooting for each other, trying to beat each other. It's always nice to see a couple of flags on the leaderboard. It's nice to see so far." Svensson was in a share of 10th after the second round, Hadwin slipped into a share of 35th place while Taylor and Hughes missed the cut.
Conners shot a two-under-par 68 on Friday and sits tied with world number two Scottie Scheffler and No. 11 Viktor Hovland for the lead. The only blemish on his scorecard was a bogey at the par-four seventh where his tee shot found the rough. Should Conners or one of his compatriots remain in the mix after the third round of the year's second major it could very well spark a Canadian convoy into motion for Oak Hill.
"It puts a smile on my face. I mean, I'm not a super fiery guy. Try not to get too high or low, but yeah, puts a smile on my face. Nice to know people are cheering for me." "It's fun to be part of the group of Canadian golfers right now. I think whether it's myself or one of them or the others, someone is making some noise every week. It's fun to be a part of."
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