Adam Scott takes the lead, Corey Conners of Canada is tied for second in the BMW Championship

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Adam Scott felt he was playing well enough to start seeing better scores at some point. This moment seems to have come at the right time.

Scott staged another tidy round on Friday, save for a holeshot — a double bogey on 17 — for a 2-under 69 that gave him a one-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the BMW Championship.

Canadian Corey Conners shot 4-under 67 to jump 11 spots and tie at four for second place. The Listowel, Ont., native is 7 under in two rounds.

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

They were a step behind, just like Cameron Young (68).

Scott, who was 8-under 134, wasn’t sure how much golf was on his board in August. He was No. 77 in the FedEx Cup, not even guaranteed to qualify for the BMW Championship, until a tie for fifth place last week in the FedEx Cup playoff opener.

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

“I am in great shape before the weekend. I don’t even know when was the last time I ran a tournament,” Scott said.

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

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

A brief look back would remind him that it won’t be easy, and the Aussie knows it.

Spieth looked solid for two days at Wilmington Country Club, with just one bogey each lap. He missed the cut last week and believes his playoffs didn’t start until Monday when he arrived in Wilmington. It’s not just about trying to erase a bad memory.

Spieth headed to the southern tip of Baja California after the British Open, wanting a break before the eventful end of the season. A problem. When he returned to Dallas, all of the courses he played were closed and his only option was to hit from a stand at a practice facility.

It wasn’t until he arrived in Tennessee last week that he realized his swing had been on vacation and his coach wasn’t available to join him until Delaware. He returned it quickly.

“I feel like I’m doing everything well, nothing spectacular, but I feel like in every facet of my game there’s a trend and improvement, and I know what to do to make it better. better and better,” Spieth said. “It sure does feel good. As the weekend approaches, it’s a good opportunity to have a lot of confidence, to focus on winning this golf tournament, without thinking about next week.

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

Conner is at No. 29 and is well placed to protect his position for East Lake. Young seems to be playing well every week – twice competing in the majors, five finalists for the season. A win would tick a lot of boxes on his list of goals.

Xander Schauffele finished with a corner on the 17th hole for an eagle and a 69, and he was in the group two shots behind that included defending champion Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, who birdied on his last hole for a other 68.

Scott didn’t get a very good finish. He was sailing on a hot, windy afternoon when he drove his tee shot near a tree. The lie was sharp, but his punch to the fairway hung up hard. From there, he didn’t reach the green or go up and down, and all of that meant a double bogey.

“It’s a good reminder for the weekend that I really have to stay in control and don’t want too many people going off the map and moving through here,” Scott said.

Taylor Pendrith (68), of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Moose Jaw, Sask., native of Adam Hadwin (70) are tied for 22nd at 3 under.


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Doug Ferguson, Associated Press


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