Rory McIlroy is just two shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the BMW Championship while Shane Lowry and Seamus Power are also well placed.
After a triple-bogey on the par-3 15th in round one, McIlroy had his redemption as he fired his tee shot to three-feet and sunk the putt for a two en-route to a second successive round of 68 to move to six-under and two shy of the leader, Adam Scott.
“It was nice. I had a much better yardage today,” said the world number three. “Yesterday it was like 5-iron, but I need to take some off it and cut it, and today it was just a step up there and make a good swing with a 6-iron, and if I strike it well, there’s no chance of it coming up short, but at the same time, it wasn’t really going to go long, either. It was just a really nice yardage.
“Yeah, most improved on that hole. I said to Harry walking off the green, if I can make two more 2s on that hole, we’ll play it even par for the week.”
After a bogey on the second, the four-time major champion kickstarted his round with birdies on the third, sixth and eighth to turn in 33 before a dropped shot on the par-5 15th was followed by that pleasing birdie on 15 and a chip-in birdie on the 18th as he moved to a share of 6th place.
“Yeah, it’s funny, I probably didn’t play quite as well today as I did yesterday but ended up shooting the same score. I’m probably coming off the golf course a lot happier than I was last night after dropping a few those last few holes and today picking a couple up.
“Yeah, really happy with how I played today. I bounced back well. I made an early bogey, was able to bounce back after that, made a bogey on the par-5 14th, bounced back with two nice birdies the last four holes.
“It’s getting tricky. It’s getting firm. It’s only going to continue to get that way over the weekend, so it’s nice to be in position.”
McIlroy’s chip in birdie on 18 was greeted with a rapturous roar with a strong Irish contingent out following him, Lowry and Power.
“Yeah, the crowds have been great all week. This is obviously a big golf tournament coming to Delaware. I’m not sure the last time that happened or if it’s happened in a long time. So it’s great to see the crowds out here and so excited to watch us play. I feel very fortunate I get pretty good support everywhere we go, but seems like there’s a lot of Irish people in the Philadelphia area, so probably a few extra cheers.”
Having alluded to the increased firmness of the golf course, the two-time FedEx Cup champion might need to adjust his strategy and keep the driver in the bag more often.
“I probably need to throttle back a little bit with the driver, maybe hit a few more fairway woods. Yeah, even just I hit it in the first cut on 18 there and just had a lob wedge in my hand and just had no control. You’ve just got to put the ball in the fairway off the tee to control it going into these greens and how firm they’re getting and they’re sort of up on little ledges and plateaus.
“Playing this golf course Saturday, Sunday, last week, it was playing long. It was still sort of soft. It’s changed a lot over the last few days. Strategy and game plan, just have to adapt a little bit.”
Meanwhile, Lowry backed up his opening 66 with a level-par 71 to remain three off the pace. More importantly, he is still projected to make the Tour Championship at 28th in the FedEx Cup standings.
It was a fairly uneventful day for the Clara native who went bogey, birdie on the second and third and carded fifteen successive pars.
His compatriot Power, whom he played alongside, gave his Tour Championship hopes a boost with a three-under 68 to climb to that number, and though he is still projected 35th he has given himself an opportunity to avoid his season fizzling out over the weekend.
The Waterford man who is playing at this stage for the first time was very solid throughout with birdies on the third, eleventh and seventeenth complimenting a blemish free card.
Aussie star Scott holds a one shot lead over Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Young, Corey Connors and Jordan Spieth after a two-under 69 helped him to eight-under.
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