MIAMI (AFP) — Canada’s Corey Conners eagled the par-5 16th for the second consecutive day to seize a one-stroke lead after Friday’s second round of the US PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Conners, chasing his second PGA title after the 2019 Texas Open, fired a three-under-par 69 to stand on nine-under 135 after 36 holes at Bay Hill in Orlando.
“I haven’t really been in this position a lot, but I have a lot of confidence in my game and feeling really relaxed the last few days,” Conners said. “I have a lot of energy and really excited for the weekend.”
Conners became only the sixth player at Bay Hill since 1992 to eagle the 16th the first two days and matched the second-best 36-hole start of his career.
That kept him ahead of Scotland’s Martin Laird, who was on 136 after a 67 that included an eagle and four birdies against a lone bogey.
“Just trying to worry about myself,” said Laird, who missed his past three prior cuts. “I didn’t know where I was. I tried to take care of what I can and see where it comes.”
Eighth-ranked Rory McIlroy, American Lanto Griffin and Norway’s Viktor Hovland shared third on 137 with US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau on 138.
“You don’t need to do anything special. You just need to be really solid, limit your mistakes,” McIlroy said. “I sort of did that. Some good up-and-downs on the front nine.
“It could have been the round that I shot 74 or 75. I got in with 71 and pretty happy with that.”