ATLANTA — After squandering a astronomical lead within the opening round of the Tour Championship, world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler bounced assist in a astronomical methodology Friday at East Lake Golf Membership and again finds himself chasing Norway’s Viktor Hovland on the weekend.
Hovland and two-time fundamental champion Collin Morikawa posted 6-below 64s on Friday and fill a 2-stroke lead at 16 below after 36 holes. Morikawa started the match at 1 below in staggered scoring, and his 15-below total of 125 living the 36-hole chronicle for the Tour Championship. It be 2 strokes better than Tiger Woods’ halfway total of 127 in 2007.
Hovland and Morikawa had been 2 strokes better than Scheffler — who carded a 65 on Friday — and 3 old to U.S. Ryder Cup hopeful Keegan Bradley.
“If I modified into as soon as going to recount myself I modified into as soon as going to be 16 below thru two days with my total ranking or no topic you prefer to must call it, I’d fill taken that,” Morikawa acknowledged. “Glance, I mediate with [the] wind being down and this course, can fill to you preserve it in entrance of your self, or no longer it’s obviously gettable. There could be going to be low scores. There could be going to continue to be low scores this weekend.
“Greens are initiating to company up. It is seemingly you’ll presumably perchance additionally very smartly be peaceful going to ascertain guys firing at pins. You fill a pair of brief holes that you ought to take earnings of. The par-5s are very gettable. It be no longer going to cease at 16 below. There could be going to be plenty more low scores, plenty more birdies made. I’m going to must continue that heading into the following two days.”
Morikawa had been looking out for his swing for a ways of the previous two seasons and oddly looks to fill found it when he made a unhappy shot in Tuesday’s prepare round.
“I hit one unpleasant shot within the prepare round, tried to resolve it out, modified into as soon as out on the range [for] two more hours,” Morikawa acknowledged. “Usually true being accessible whenever you attain no longer realize that you are accessible for that lengthy of a period, you scrutinize one thing that you hope works. I point out, I’ve performed that for the previous few years, hoping that we’ll obtain that one thing that clicks, and true now, I’m going to follow it. Why no longer?”
Hovland, who won closing week’s BMW Championship commence air Chicago, led the field in strokes won: off the tee and tied for 2d in driving distance at 314.1 yards on Friday. He had five birdies within the closing seven holes of the assist 9 for a 30. He posted a 7-below 28 on the assist 9 at Olympia Fields Country Membership on Sunday to bag his first FedEx Cup playoffs event.
“I mediate all of it starts from true the tee,” Hovland acknowledged. “I’m hitting alternative fairways, driving it actually smartly. For folk that’re step by step within the golf green on this golf course, you can additionally actually be aggressive with a pair of of the iron photos in there. Factual been ready to present myself alternative looks. On the assist 9, I started making some putts.”
Xander Schauffele matched the co-leaders with a 6-below 64 on Friday. It modified into as soon as his 26th consecutive round of par or better within the Tour Championship, basically the most within the match’s history and practically about twice as many because the following-closest participant, Woods, who had 14 straight from 1999 to 2001. Schauffele modified into as soon as below par in 23 of these rounds and has by no draw been over par in a round at East Lake.
“It be beautiful evident,” Schauffele acknowledged. “It be true you fill bought to form of situation around the property smartly, and can fill to you can additionally obtain your putter going, the greens are so pure you feel treasure you can additionally originate up rolling anything in. So it must true match my see. I’m no longer actually dawdle. I performed beautiful smartly around the property, and I’m going to resolve on some more of that magic here on the weekend.”
Defending FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy is 6 strokes within the assist of Hovland and Morikawa after carding a 3-below 67. McIlroy is peaceful being bothered by a sore true facet and acknowledged there’s handiest so well-known he can attain on the course.
“I’m dinky in what I’m able to achieve, nonetheless I’m here grinding away, fighting away,” McIlroy acknowledged. “So happy to be thru 36 holes.”
McIlroy acknowledged he had draw more lag on his swings and modified into as soon as presumably handiest a half-club off his regular distances, when as in contrast with a burly club in Thursday’s opening round. He can no longer hit left-to-true photos and is teeing his ball down on drives for flat, working photos down the golf green.
“It be true exhausting to form of obtain my true facet thru the ball,” acknowledged McIlroy, the ideal three-time FedEx Cup champion. “It in actuality feels better with the longer golf equipment on myth of I’m more supreme in my posture. After I form of obtain the total manner down to the shorter stuff, making an are attempting to preserve in my posture is a fight. So I’m form of true popping out of it and swinging my arms at it, and I’m lacking alternative iron photos left. However, yeah, true making an are attempting to preserve watch over it and attain the very most practical I’m able to.”