The Barclays: World No 1 Rory McIlroy returns to top form at Ridgewood
Last Updated: 23/08/14 7:43am
After an uncharacteristic slow start on Thursday, Rory McIlroy is back in the hunt at The Barclays after a superb six-under 65 on day two at Ridgewood in New Jersey.
The Northern Irishman, who has won two majors and a WGC event in his last three starts, produced the sort of round witnessed at Hoylake, Firestone and Valhalla to move from outside the top 100 to tied 28th as he went nine shots lower than his opening lacklustre 74.
Second round leaderboard
(US unless stated
-8 C Tringale
-8 A Scott (Aus)
-7 K Chappell
-7 B Todd
-7 J Furyk
Click here for collated scores
At three-under, he still has much work to do to catch joint leaders Adam Scott and Cameron Tringale (eight-under) but the front-runners will now be looking over their shoulders after the 25-year-old played his way right back into the opening leg of the PGA Tour's four-tournament FedEx Cup finale.
McIlroy set the tone with a birdie at the opening hole after putting his approach to eight feet and the four-time major winner made further gains at the seventh and ninth.
More crushing drives set up further opportunities coming home and he birdied 12, 13 and 17 before just missing another on the closing hole.
He told Sarah Stirk at the Sky Cart: "I went to the range yesterday afternoon, worked on a couple of things and just got comfortable with my swing again.
"After not really touching a club before this week I felt a little bit rusty out there yesterday. It didn't take long, maybe an hour on the range to sort of get things back on track, and I'm glad I did it because i played really well today.
"I'm going to have to get off to a fast start tomorrow to try and catch those guys before they go out on the golf course."
Scott, the defending champion, who was knocked off the top of the world rankings by McIlroy earlier this month, made his surge with four straight birdies from the fifth and although he added more at 12 and 18 the Aussie still felt he left plenty of shots out there despite matching Rory's six-under 65.
Scott said: "It felt like it could have been a whole lot better. I hit it so close to the hole all day and it felt like I missed most of my putts. I've got to take the positives but hopefully a few more go in over the weekend."
Tringale had a bogey and a double bogey on his card but six birdies saw him round in 68 and added to his impressive opening 66.
A quartet of Tringale's fellow Americans - Kevin Chappell, Brendon Todd, Jim Furyk and Kevin Na - share third place on seven-under while the bunch on six-under includes Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Jason Day and Scotland's Russell Knox.
Further down the field, Phil Mickelson looked set to miss the cut until he birdied his final hole to salvage a 72 and scrape into the weekend with nothing to spare on one over.
But European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley will be concerned that prospective wildcards Ian Poulter and Luke Donald both made an early exit, while Martin Kaymer will also have the weekend off after a dreadful 77.