Tiger Woods and Justin Rose have simply struggled less than the rest.
Woods and Rose talked about how difficult East Lake Golf Club (https://www.eastlakegolfclub.com/) is playing, but they are tied for the lead midway through the final event of the season and the FedEx Cup playoffs in Atlanta.
“I didn’t hit it as well today, but I was able to make a lot of pars and post a good score,” said Woods, who followed his opening 5-under-par 65 with a 68, making a two-foot birdie putt on the last hole. “This is not an easy course, it’s a grinder’s course, it plays hard and it’s hard to make birdies.
“There are no good lies in the rough. The ball goes sits down and you just have to hit and hope. It’s very strategic and you have to be patient. We still a long ways to go.”
Woods held a two-stroke lead before driving into trouble en route to a double bogey-6 on the 16th hole, but he also made four birdies on the back nine to finish at 7-under 133.
Rose, ranked No. 1 in the world and sitting at second in the FedEx Cup standings, had three birdies on the back nine including a two-footer on No. 18 in a 67 to gain his share of the lead.
“It’s hard to hit the fairway here, so even if you’re hitting wedges from the rough it’s hard to keep the ball under the hole,” said Rose, who has won twice on the PGA Tour this season. “It seemed like much more of a struggle today. You’re going to miss some greens, so you have to get up-and-down (for par).
“ … It’s great to win any time, but to win something that’s for the whole season (the FedEx Cup) would a little extra special.”
Fifth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland birdied two of the first three holes and two of the last four in a 68 and is two strokes back in third, while 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel and Patrick Cantlay of UCLA both carded 65s and are three behind in a tie for fourth with fourth-ranked Justin Thomas, who totaled 69, and seventh-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, who finished at 68.
Ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who shared the first-round lead with Woods, managed only a 72 and is four down in a tie for eighth with Kyle Stanley, who came in at 68.
Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego carded a 70 and is one more behind in a tie for 10th with Hideki Matsuyama (66) of Japan, Tommy Fleetwood (69) of England, Tony Finau (71) and Gary Woodland (72).
Third-ranked Dustin Johnson is tied for 15th after a 70, while two-time East Lake winner Phil Mickelson shot 72 and is in a tie for 25th with sixth-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy, who had a 73.
Eighth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, the FedEx Cup points leader, stumbled to a 75 and is tied for 27th, while second-ranked Brooks Koepka, the U.S. Open and PGA champion, soared to a 78 and is last in the 30-man field.
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