Late bogeys foil McIlroy at Barclays
Rory McIlroy is struggling to get to grips with a new putter but he can take some encouragement from a much-improved second round at The Barclays last night.
Still seeking his first PGA Tour win of the year, and using his new Scotty Cameron blade, McIlroy fired a two-under-par 69 but his effort to claw his way into contention was marred by late bogeys on the 15th and 16th which followed four earlier birdies, including three in his first seven holes.
It took him to two-under for the tournament at Bethpage Black and with some work to do today to catch leader Patrick Reed, who built on his opening 66 with a 68, despite a closing bogey, for eight-under overall.
An encouraged McIlroy told Sky Sports 4: "One of the big things I'm really excited about is that 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 (yards) and out has been great. Things I need to work on are from 150 in and obviously my putting."
Jordan Spieth carded a 67 for a four-under-par halfway tally, while the clubhouse lead was held by Ryan Moore on five-under after a 68 yesterday.
Graeme McDowell missed the cut on six-over after a disastrous bogey, double-bogey finish.
Meanwhile, Welshman Bradley Dredge, looking to end a 10-year title drought on the European Tour, played superb golf in tough conditions to move three strokes clear after the second round of the Made in Denmark tournament in Farso.
Dredge followed his opening 63 with a five-under-par 66 on a challenging day of strong winds at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort to post a 13-under total of 129.
Swede Joakim Lagergren (70) was in second spot, with Belgium's Thomas Pieters (71) and South African Richard Sterne (67) a further shot back at nine-under.
Paul Dunne is best of the Irish in a tie for 12th place on six-under after a second consecutive 68 yesterday.
Shane Lowry fired a fine 65, joint-best round of the day and ten shots better than his opening round, to move up to two-under par, while Peter Lawrie and Cormac Sharvin both made the cut on level-par after rounds of 70. Darren Clarke (71), Michael Hoey (76) and Gary Hurley (85) all missed out.
Dredge, who has not tasted victory since the 2006 European Masters, reeled off five birdies on his front nine to surge to the top of the leaderboard.
"You come to courses sometimes and it just seems to suit your eye," said Dredge, who finished second at this tournament in 2014 and sixth last year.
"I'm just glad that I'm here and performing. You try not to think too much about the score but I thought under 70 was going to be a good score out there today."
Englishman Tom Lewis, joint first-round leader with Lagergren and Pieters after opening with a course record 62, carded a 72 to finish the second round at eight-under.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Meadow held the clubhouse lead when the opening round of the Canadian Pacific Women's Open was suspended due to bad light on Thursday.
The 24-year-old, ranked 419 in the world, struck seven birdies and a solitary bogey in her six-under-par 66 to top the pile of players who completed all 18 holes.
With the first round completed yesterday and the second in progress last night, Meadow had a later tee-time but still remained inside the top 10, six shots adrift of clubhouse leader Ariya Jutanugary of Thailand, the Women's British Open winner firing a flawless 64 to take control of the event.
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