New Zealand’s Fox, Scotland’s MacIntyre share PGA Canadian Open lead

June 1, 2024

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox closed with a birdie putt from just inside 14 feet to match Scotsman Robert MacIntyre for the lead after Friday’s second round of the Canadian Open.

Fox, seeking his first US PGA Tour title, fired a six-under par 64 while MacIntyre, who has not had a bogey thus far, shot 66 to leave both men on 10-under 130 after 36 holes at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in suburban Toronto.

“I drove it great, I hit my irons really good and had a few more putts drop today,” Fox said. “It could have been really silly, but I still had a lot of good putts. If you would have given me 64 to start the day I certainly would have taken.”

World number 76 MacIntyre, chasing his first PGA crown as well, has two wins on the DP World Tour, most recently at the 2022 Italian Open. His best PGA finish was as runner-up in last year’s Scottish Open.

“I’m playing nicely,” MacIntyre said. “Approach play has been pretty good. I’ve been giving myself a lot of chances. When I missed the green I’ve had a good short game. Overall it has been a good two days.”

American Joel Dahmen was third on 132 after a second-round 65 with England’s David Skinns, Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes and American Andrew Novak sharing fourth on 133.

Fox is a four-time DP World Tour winner, most recently at last September’s BMW PGA Championship, but his best PGA finish came only three weeks ago — a share of fourth at Myrtle Beach.

The 37-year-old from Auckland, a back-nine starter, birdied four of his first seven holes.

“Before the Masters I was really struggling,” Fox said. “Took a while to put the scores together, but certainly been feeling a lot better about my golf game since then.”

World number 63 Fox made a nine-foot birdie putt at the 10th, a birdie putt from just inside five feet at 12, another from just inside four feet at 14 and rolled in a 24-footer to birdie the par-3 16th.

Fox drove the green in two to set up a tap-in birdie at the par-5 fourth and sank a birdie putt from just outside nine feet at the fifth, only to miss the green at the par-3 sixth and make bogey, setting up his dramatic final putt to share the lead at the par-4 ninth.

– Dad’s on the bag –

MacIntyre, who fired a 64 on Thursday, said his best part of the week has been having his father, Dougie, as his caddie.

“First time on the bag on a proper tournament. He’s learning on the run and I’m kind of trying to stay as calm as I can,” MacIntyre said. “We’re just trying to have as much fun as we can.”

MacIntyre had been through two other caddies in recent weeks.

“It’s not so much the caddieing part, it’s the personalities,” MacIntyre said. “It’s just about having chats on the golf course. It’s not rocket science.”

MacIntyre, 27, sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the first hole, reached the green in two for a tap-in birdie at the par-5 fourth, made a seven-foot birdie putt at the 12th and a five-footer to birdie 15.

World number three Rory McIlroy, a two-time Canadian Open champion and four-time major winner, struggled to a 72 to finish on 138, eight adrift.