Aug 24th, 2019
“Lucky” McIlroy up to second
But Brooks in pole position at halfway point
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
The Tour Championship is looking like it will provide a thrilling finale to the men’s season on Sunday as at the halfway point as Brooks Koepke leads Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas by one stroke, with Xander Schauffele and Paul Casey still very much in contention.
East Lake is not making life easy for the players with very few of the top professionals tearing up the course. Indeed, yesterday saw more than a few over par rounds which is a rarity on the tour these days. Only America’s Chez Reavie seemed to have got it all together carding a six under par 64 in a strong round which saw him jump 16 places to tied seventh. In contrast Justin Rose struggled at four over par in a day he would sooner not remember and which saw him heading in the opposite direction to tied 22nd.
Koepke played a solid, if unspectacular, round carding another three under 67 and it appears that his “freaking out” moment of Thursday is now well and truly behind him. “I feel better. I don't feel like I'm clicking 100%, but it's definitely close,” Koepka said. The round could have been even better as a brilliant second shot on the last left Brooks with a nine foot putt for an eagle. Sadly, he missed the eagle putt on the right side and was left with a birdie to take the overall lead by one.
McIlroy in contrast had a tough day at the office and admitted to Sky Sports that "I got lucky on 18. I just sort of rode my luck the whole way along that hole.” Following an equal par front nine Rory managed to play the final nine at three under but it was far from plain sailing saving par from a greenside bunker on 16, sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on 17 and hitting a 25-yard chip to 3 feet for a birdie on the last.
Thomas looked in much better shape than on Thursday although he still appears to be struggling to hit the fairway, particularly on the back nine, and with East Lake’s rough making life difficult he will be happy to sign for a two under 68 and to still be in contention tied with McIlroy for second.
Schauffele is one shot further back after posting a one under par 69 and coming up fast on him and the leaders is England’s Paul Casey who followed up an opening round 66 with a strong three under 67 and who sits on nine under with 36 holes left to play. Given where he started, he must be feeling very happy with how things are going, and he is very much in contention for day three.
For the final leaderboard click HERE.
And another thing...