Some star power surged toward the top of the leaderboard on Friday at the RBC Canadian Open as Rory McIlroy shot a 67 to get inside the top 12, Tyrrell Hatton shot an 8-under 64 for the round of the day and Canadian Corey Conners stayed hot with a 69 to remain within one. Still, all three trail Carl Yuan at the top after he shot his own 67 and leads at 9 under going into the weekend.
Let's take a look at that lead and what to expect over the next 36 holes.
T1. Carl Yuan (-9)
You might be asking, "Who is Carl Yuan?" You would not be alone. The Korn Ferry Tour graduate has not been good so far this season with his only top 25 coming at the Sony Open in January and no top 50s on the resume since then. He's been awesome over the first two days in Canada, though, and actually leads the field in strokes gained from tee to green, just ahead of Conners.
Can he hold on to the lead? The gambling markets say no, and so does Data Golf, which gives him just a 6% chance of winning the golf tournament. If he did somehow win from out in front, it would be a life and career-changing victory.
T2. Tyrrell Hatton, Corey Conners, Aaron Rai, C.T. Pan (-8)
T6. Brendon Todd, Chesson Hadley, Andrew Novak, Justin Lower, Harry Higgs, Jonathan Byrd (-7)
T12. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, S.H. Kim, Mark Hubbard, Nate Lashley (-6)
McIlroy is, oddly, the two-time defending champion here. He won it back in 2019 and then defended last year after the tournament was not played in 2021 and 2022. He currently leads the field in putting, which normally means a victory is on deck. The key for him will be hitting better approaches and putting himself in a better position to score over the next two days. He's currently 88th on approach shots. Still, Rory being in the mix is a win for this tournament and obviously builds confidence for the U.S. Open next week.
"I think winning the tournament the last couple of times helps," McIlroy said. "I think, am I the only player in the top 10 in the world that's here this week maybe? So I guess maybe that appreciation that I've come back up to defend. But, yeah, ...since the first time I played the Canadian Open I feel like I've got a tremendous amount of support. And it's great just to play in an atmosphere like that out there this afternoon."
2023 Canadian Open updated odds and picks
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Tyrrell Hatton: 18/5
- Corey Conners: 11/2
- Rory McIlroy: 11/2
- Aaron Rai: 12-1
- Justin Rose: 12-1
- C.T. Pan: 16-1
- Carl Yuan: 16-1
All eyes are obviously on Conners to see if he can do something that hasn't been done in over 60 years with a Canadian taking his national open. He's been tremendous from tee to green thus far and is a good bet here, even with the added pressure of trying to win in Canada.
"Very placid, down to earth, even keeled sort of guy," McIlroy said of Conners. "I don't think if he gets into contention this weekend, I don't think the moment's really going to get to him all that much. He's obviously playing well. He had a great chance at Oak Hill. He's been a really good player on Tour now for the last sort of three years."
The other number I like? Rose at 12-1. He's No. 8 from tee to green and playing such terrific golf with a T9 at the PGA Championship and a T12 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The odds there are right to bet on him to potentially make a move over the next 36.
In a solo performance, Rick Gehman breaks down Round 2 of the RBC Canadian Open. Tyrrell Hatton goes low, Rory McIlroy cards a 67 and a surprise at the top of the leaderboard. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.