'Excited' Rory McIlroy pleased with progress but putting and wedge play is still an issue
Rory McIlroy is "excited" at the state of his game as he continued his comeback from an ankle injury with a two-under-par round on day two at The Barclays.
The 27-year-old, who has not played since missing the cut at the PGA Championship almost a month ago, bettered Thursday's level-par effort at Bethpage Black.
McIlroy, down at number five in the world rankings and chasing his first PGA Tour win of the year, shot four birdies and two bogeys in a round of 69.
That left him six shots behind front-runner Patrick Reed, who led by two shots on eight under.
An encouraged McIlroy told Sky Sports 4: "I think one of the big things I'm really excited about is things are back to where they were before my ankle injury.
"Even in the first part of this year my ball speed, my swing speed wasn't up to where I wanted it to be, but with that I can fully commit so I'm really happy with that.
"My wedge play hasn't been as good as I wanted it to be but off the tee and approach play from 150 and out has been great. Things I need to work on are from 150 in and obviously my putting."
Reed is two clear of Emiliano Grillo and Rickie Fowler, who both shot 69 while Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are well placed on four under.