THREE ROUNDS FRIDAY AT EAST LAKE

1. RORY MCILROY

33-32-65

Look out field. “I felt a lot more comfortable out there,” the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer proclaimed Friday, after a somewhat ill-fitting first round. That translated to the low 18 so far for the week. McIlroy finished with a flourish, birdies on 17 and 18 sending him off in a fine mood. “And 18 was a bit of a bonus,” he said. “A tricky putt (27 feet) up that hill with a lot of right to left break. I was trying to get it somewhere close to the hole and make a solid three. Great way to finish and obviously in a great position going into the weekend.”

2. MATT KUCHAR

33-38-71

The former Georgia Tech star contemplated a move early, making the turn at 2 under (4 under for the tournament) Friday. But, as he said, “The back nine’s harder.” Kuchar failed on sand saves on Nos. 10 and 12, and took a three-putt bogey on 17. “It’s frustrating to watch them slip away,” he said. At 1 under for the tournament, he is seven back of leader Billy Horschel. Yet, he remains irrepressible. “Two days left in our year, pleased with way hitting ball, pleased with way I’m putting it. It’s just a matter of driving it well.”

3. RICKIE FOWLER

34-34-68

His was the day’s most mercurial round. Fowler had as many birdies as McIlroy on Friday (six), but gave four of them back on bogey holes. “Wish I could have gotten a couple coming in,” he lamented, having to settle for mere pars on his closing three holes. The weekend at East Lake holds the potential for someone to jump dramatically up the leaderboard, he warned. “I haven’t gotten everything out of the round the first couple of days. … There’s a 62 or 63 out there, for sure, but you gotta go out and get it.”

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks