Charley Hoffman of Poway carded an 8-under-par 63 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead over Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe midway through the Deutsche Bank Championship, second event of the FedEx Cup playoffs, at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.
It was a mixed bag for the top three players in the World Golf Rankings, as Jason Day posted a second straight 68 and was six shots back in a tie for 10th, top-ranked Rory McIlroy carded a late birdie to ensure he would make the cut despite a 74 and No. 2 Jordan Spieth shot 73 to miss a second straight cut for the first time in his PGA Tour career.
Hoffman, who closed with a 62 in 2010 to win the Deutsche Bank, made his only bogey at No. 8 but finished with his ninth birdie of the round one hole later by sinking a 13-foot putt, and finished at 12-under 130 for 36 holes.
“It was a little different five years ago,” said Hoffman, who has won three times on the PGA Tour including the OHL Mayakoba Open early in the 2014-15 season. “I came from a decent ways back, so I didn’t have to deal with the lead.
“Any time you are in the lead you put a lot of pressure on yourself. And obviously I’ve got to deal with that tonight. … Just try to keep doing what I’m doing, making a lot of putts and hitting a decent amount of fairways for me, which is a nice combo.”
De Jonge, the first-round leader at 65, had it going again early with three straight birdies through No. 4, but had only two more in a round of 68.
Zach Johnson, who won the Open Championship at St. Andrews, posted a bogey-free 65 and was four shots back in a tie for third with Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Matt Jones of Australia and Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA, who all had 67s.
Henrik Stenson of Sweden, the 2013 FedEx Cup champion, recorded a 68 and was another shot behind in a tie for seventh with Russell Knox of Scotland, who posted a 65, and Sean O’Hair, who came in at 67.
Day, the FedEx Cup points leader who has won three of his last four tournaments and can take the No. 1 ranking from McIlroy by winning on Monday, recorded his 22nd consecutive round of par or better–the most on the PGA Tour this season.
“It was good; I would have loved to see more putts go in, but I can’t get greedy,” said Day, who claimed his first major title last month in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. “I just wasn’t getting it close enough to the hole.
“I’m happy with two 68s and looking forward to the last two days. (Hoffman) is going to be tough to catch at 12-under and I need for my putter to get hot.”
Spieth, the Masters and U.S. Open champion who briefly took the No. 1 spot from McIlroy after finishing second to Day in the PGA, wound up at 75-73 — 148 and missed the cut by three strokes.
He also missed last week at The Barclays, the FedEx Cup playoffs opener.
“It was pretty similar (to last week),” said Spieth, who has four victories this season and probably needs the week off before the BMW Championship. “I’m hitting it about as well as I did in the PGA and the Open, but just not getting the same score. Yesterday, it was my irons and today my putter.
“As far as the FedEx goes, it doesn’t make much difference as long as I can make up for it in the last two tournaments. I’m going to take at least four days off and then reassess things. I don’t feel like I’m that far off, but my scores are.”
McIlroy, playing for the first time since the PGA Championship after missing six weeks because of an ankle injury, was in danger of missing the cut before hitting a bunker shot to within two feet for a closing birdie and made the cut by two strokes.
The Irishman was in a tie for 59th, 14 shots behind Hoffman.