Tiger Woods did not have things going his way at the BMW Championship a day after he opened with a 62, which was his lowest score since his last win more than five years ago. Woods endured eight holes before his first birdie and didn’t have many after that. He finished with two straight bogeys for a 70, leaving him five shots behind in a tie for 12th.
However, Xander Schauffele had another great day as he came close to holing a wedge on his second hole, had a 40-foot birdie putt in the middle of his round and finished with a 6-under for the lowest 36-hole score of his career. He also held a two-shot lead over Justin Rose.
Schauffele was at 13-under 127 and will be paired in the third round Saturday with a familiar figure in Philadelphia. Rose, who played bogey-free for a 64, won the AT&T National at Aronimink in 2010, and his only major came at nearby Merion in the 2013 U.S. Open.
Hideki Matsuyama, who started the FedExCup Playoffs at No. 76, had a 64 and was in a group three shots behind that included Keegan Bradley, Alex Noren and Rickie Fowler. Matsuyama suddenly is in position to be among the 30 players who advance to East Lake in Atlanta in two weeks for the TOUR Championship.
Also likely to advance Bradley and Noren, the Swede who makes his Ryder Cup debut at the end of the month. Noren holed out for eagle on the par-5 ninth for a 66, while Bradley keeps flirting with contention in these playoff events.
Rory McIlroy (67), FedExCup champion Justin Thomas (67) and Jason Day (64) were at 9-under 131.
Schauffele also needs a good week to get to Tour Championships at East Lake, and his goal would be to extend his season an additional week in France at the Ryder Cup. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk had an easy time deciding on three of his four picks for the Ryder Cup. He had to make a fourth on Monday and Schauffele is hoping to get that.
As for Woods, he said, “Very simple. I didn’t make any putts. I hit a lot of beautiful putts that were on the top of the edge, and then obviously hit a couple bad ones on the last hole, but looked like all the putts were going to in. But they didn’t go in today.”
The course at Aronimink was even softer than the opening round from a burst of rain overnight. Starting times were moved up four hours because of a forecast for more rain. On Friday, when the average score was 67.33, the wedges spun too much to back pin positions.
Schauffele had been a runner-up at The Open Championship and he was 12th in the Ryder Cup standings. Furyk used three of his picks Tuesday night on Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Woods — Nos. 9, 10, 11 in the standings and has one more pick after the BMW Championship.
Tony Finau is regarded the leading candidate for the last Ryder Cup berth, and he did not harm his chances. Finau made seven birdies in his round of 64 and goes into the final 36 holes at Aronimink just five shots behind.