Tiger Woods birdies the last to share halfway lead at East Lake
McIlroy trails Woods and world number one Rose by two strokes in Tour Championship
Tiger Woods shares the halfway lead with Justin Rose in the Tour Championship. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA
Rose carded a second round of 67 at East Lake to finish seven under par, a total matched in the following group by 14-time major winner Woods, who added a 68 to his opening 65.
A second win of the season for Rose on Sunday would see the Englishman secure the overall FedEx Cup title and a bonus of £7.6million, while Woods is seeking a first victory since 2013 to put the seal on his remarkable comeback following spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.
Woods covered the front nine in level par despite finding just two fairways, but birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th briefly gave him a two-shot lead before a costly double bogey on the 16th, where he was forced to play out sideways from a fairway bunker after pulling his tee shot into thick rough.
The 42-year-old bounced back to birdie the par-five 18th and join Rose at the top of the leaderboard, with Rory McIlroy two shots off the lead on five under and Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Billy Horschel a shot further back.
Rose, who carded five birdies and two bogeys in his 67, told Sky Sports: “(I’m) happy with that score, it was a little rough around the edges compared to yesterday but you can’t play like yesterday every single day. Happy that I was able to find a score out there for sure.
“I was waiting for a bit of momentum, felt like the round had got a little flat around the turn and then those two birdies in a row (on 13 and 14) really got me going. I took a look at the leaderboard at that point and realised that no-one had gone anywhere today, it was obviously a bit trickier for some reason.”
As for playing with Woods in the final group on Saturday, Rose added: “I’m very much looking forward to it, in my mind he’s the greatest of all time just cause he’s in the era I’ve witnessed.
“It will be an honour to play with him as world number one but there’s more at stake than playing with Tiger Woods and I’m looking forward to another day of business and edging my way towards an exciting Sunday.”
Woods, whose last win came in the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, told Sky Sports: “I ground out a round today, I wasn’t as sharp as I was yesterday and missed a few shots but hung in there with a bunch of pars and made a couple of putts which was nice.”
McIlroy, who won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title in 2016, was left to rue failing to take advantage of the par fives as he added a 68 to his opening 67.
“I’m making enough birdies but I didn’t birdie either of the par fives which is disappointing,” the four-time major winner said. “If I had been able to do that I might have been a little closer to the lead but no-one is going anywhere out there it seems.
“I’ll probably be one or two behind and it was nice to play the last four holes in two under par.”
Latest second round scores in the TOUR Championship, East Lake GC, United States of America (USA unless stated, par 70):
133 Tiger Woods 65 68, Justin Rose (Eng) 66 67
135 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 67 68
136 Justin Thomas 67 69, Jon Rahm (Spa) 68 68, Patrick Cantlay 71 65, Billy Horschel 71 65
137 Kyle Stanley 69 68, Rickie Fowler 65 72
138 Tony Finau 67 71, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 72 66, Xander Schauffele 68 70, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 69 69, Gary Woodland 66 72
139 Dustin Johnson 69 70, Aaron Wise 70 69, Paul Casey (Eng) 68 71, Webb Simpson 69 70
140 Kevin Na 72 68
141 Jason Day (Aus) 68 73
142 Marc Leishman (Aus) 73 69, Patton Kizzire 71 71, Bubba Watson 70 72
143 Cameron Smith (Aus) 70 73
145 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 70 75, Phil Mickelson 73 72
146 Keegan Bradley 73 73, Bryson DeChambeau 71 75, Patrick Reed 72 74
147 Brooks Koepka 69 78