Johnson and Fowler lead way as McIlroy battles to make the cut
Dunne lies just one shot off the lead in Made in Denmark event on European Tour
Dogged and determined, Rory McIlroy went into the second round of the Northern Trust at Glen Oaks in New York fighting for his survival.
He achieved his objective in making the cut as he shot 68 a to add to his opening 73 for a midway total of one-over par 141 to ensure he would be around for the weekend.
Although it was British Open champion Jordan Spieth who produced most of the champagne golf with a run of five successive birdies in moving into the thick of contention, McIlroy’s fare was more akin to that a craft beer which appealed to select tastes.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman did what he had to do with a round that comprised three birdies and one bogey.
McIlroy, the defending FedEx Cup champion, but still seeking his first win of an injury-plagued season, guaranteed he would get the chance for further upward momentum over the weekend with a solid if unspectacular round with birdies on the 13th from 18 feet and 16th from 10 feet and a chip-in on the second, his 11th.
His only bogey came on the 14th, where his putter betrayed him and he ran up a three-putt.
The only Irish player to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, McIlroy – who was in danger of missing the cut after an opening 73 – at least managed to ensure his presence for the weekend but he was all of seven shots adrift of the clubhouse leaders after world number one Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jonny Vegas reached the midpoint on six-under-par 134 with Spieth also very much in the hunt.
Fowler, with four top-10s in his last five starts on the PGA Tour, shot a second round 66 to share the lead with Vegas and Johnson but intent on claiming a win.
“This is definitely the highest I’ve been in points going into the Playoffs and I want to make sure I stay inside the top five going into East Lake. We’re off to a good start but looking forward to a good weekend.
“The last two days, I feel like I’ve driven it fairly well. I’ve only missed three fairways, one of them which I thought was actually perfect and went through the fairway. But playing out of the fairways is a big key here to take advantage of some of the shorter holes but also give you a chance to hit these longer ones in regulation.”
Spieth, for his part, put on a masterclass on this back nine with a run of five successive birdies from the 10th and then, after bogeying the 15th, responded with a long birdie putt on the 16th to also get to six under into a share of the lead.
One shot off lead
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Paul Dunne is right in contention at the Made in Denmark event in Farso, a second round of three-under 68 leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the weekend.
The 24-year-old from Greystones carded five birdies and two bogeys at a windy Himmeland layout to move to seven under, which he shares with England’s David Horsey, Scotland’s Marc Warren and Indian golfer SSP Charasia.
England’s Steve Webster leads the way on eight under after a one-under 70.
“I hit the ball really well today and controlled the ball very well in the wind,” said Dunne.
Dunne finished in the top 10 at the tournament last year and he’s hoping he can merge the best parts of his play over the opening two rounds today.
“The game plan is more of the same. I know we all say it but there are a lot guys bunched on that leaderboard so it’s going to be pretty tight over the weekend. If I can hit the ball like I did today and putt like I did yesterday I’ll have a great chance to win but there is a long way to go.”
Michael Hoey carded a two-under 69 but missed the cut after finishing on two over, while Gary Hurley also missed the weekend after adding a 75 to his opening 77.
Rory McIlroy on the 17th hole during the second round of the Northern Trust at Glen Oaks Club in Westbury, New York.