Furyk storms into the lead following a sparking 64
A SECOND round 64 for Jim Furyk gave him a one-shot lead over the rest of the field after the second round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Nine birdies and three bogeys including a five -footer on the 18th left Furyk on six under for the day and seven under par overall and just a shot ahead of the trailing Justin Rose on six under and two shots clear of Bo van Pelt and Bubba Watson, who shot a 66 on the day.
It was Furyk, though who was able to shake the course to life and in an early round charge shot ahead to six under through nine holes, a tap-in on the seventh giving him the outright lead, which he never relinquished.
Furyk was on fire in the good scoring conditions and embarked on a head-down solo run from the first, shooting seven consecutive threes as he charged through the early holes. That section included five stunning birdies. Almost every time Furyk appeared on the green he seemed to be tapping in such was the quality of his iron play from the fairways.
Not a long hitter the winner of the Tour Championship of two years ago posted a 29 for the front nine and as he sailed through the turn there was little in his demeanour to suggest that his was a first nine sprint that might run out of energy.
He birdied the par five ninth but was back to shooting threes straight after with another birdie the 10th hole, his seventh of the round.
At that point thoughts tentatively turned to a possible course record 59 on the par 70 East Lake Golf Club, which would have been one better than Zach Johnson’s record of 60.
Furyk finally showed some signs of being fallible when he made a par four on the 12th hole. But ultimately three bogeys on the back nine including a miss on the 18th green from five feet reeled him back towards the field.
“I just got a really fast start. I got the ball in play, hit a ton of fairways so I could get the ball in close on the front nine, said Furyk. “I’ve got myself back in the hunt and up north on the leader board.”
Rory McIlroy could so easily have been down and out of the competition after the first five holes.
But the twice Major champion managed to pull a couple of rabbits out of the hat just to keep his score to level par through nine holes after some wonderful up and downs from precarious positions.
The 440 yard par four fourth hole typified McIlroy’s tenacity – and his waywardness – when he pitched 50 yards over the down slope at the back of the green before slinging the ball close and putting for his par.
On the next hole, a first round card wrecking par three over water, McIlroy holed his putt from another parish. Just as well it was steaming.
But he couldn’t find the sparkle that has won him three out of the last four tour events and with a birdie and a bogey, his card looked average through 14 holes when he was heading towards little better than his first round 69.
In the end the world number one did go one better than that with a 68, an eagle on the par five 15th hole smartening up his card and keeping him in touch. Not at his very best, if he can continue to improve and go even lower in the 60s today, McIlroy, at three under par after two rounds could be in contention.
“It was good. I made a shaky start but I made three big par saves in the first three holes and then I just played steady golf,” said McIlroy. “The eagle on 15 was nice to finish off the round well.”
McIlroy added that there was no significance to the decision to put his house in outside Belfast up for sale, explaining that he now spends so much time travelling to tour events that he spends just two weeks a year at home in Northern Ireland.