07/26/2013 01:15 EDT | Updated 09/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Mike Weir climbs Canadian Open leaderboard

Mike Weir is back in the conversation at the Canadian Open.

The Brights Grove, Ont., golfer moved into a tie for 18th place with a five-under-par 67 in second-round action at Glen Abbey Golf Club on Friday.

Weir, 43, opened play on Thursday with a one-over 73, four shots back of Brad Fritsch, the top Canadian in Round 1.

In Friday’s round, Weir shot four-under on the back nine, with birdies on the 10th, 11th, 13th and 16 holes.

He made par at 17 and 18 to move to close within seven shots of clubhouse leader John Merrick of the United States, who shot 62 on Friday and is 11-under for the tournament.

Fellow Americans Tommy Gainey and Brendan Steele were four shots behind. Gainey reeled off five consecutive birdies on the back nine and nine overall Friday to finish at eight-under.

Steele, who wasn’t scheduled to begin second-round play until 1:05 p.m. ET, was on his game Thursday, posting eight birdies and bogeyed only the par-4 ninth hole.

Weir has finished second in nine tournaments during his 22-plus years on the PGA Tour, among them a loss at the 2004 Canadian Open.

He began the final round on that memorable Sunday at Glen Abbey with a three-stroke lead over Vijay Singh, only to watch his relentless opponent sink a clutch eight-foot birdie putt on the tournament’s 72nd hole to force a playoff.

Weir blinked on the third playoff hole, the par-5 18th hole. After misfiring on his tee shot, he splashed his third shot into the water lining the 18th hole, giving Singh two putts to claim his seventh victory of the season.

Weir is playing better now than he did all of last year when he missed the cut in all 14 tournaments he played. He turned in a 28th-place showing at the U.S. Open last month and 27th-place finish at the recent John Deere Classic.