NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk had an easy time deciding on three of his four picks for the Ryder Cup.
Xander Schauffele is making the last one a little more difficult.
Schauffele nearly holed a wedge on his second hole, rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt in the middle of his round Friday and wound up with a 6-under 64 in the BMW Championship for the lowest 36-hole score of his career and a two-shot lead over Justin Rose.
“I'm sort of in a position where I feel like a win is the only way I'd even be in consideration,” Schauffele said.
I'm sort of in a position where I feel like a win is the only way I'd even be in consideration
He also made it more difficult on Tiger Woods, who goes into a weekend have to catch up to the leaders.
One day after he opened with a 62 – his lowest score since his last victory more than five years ago – Woods went eight holes before his first birdie and didn't make many after that. He finished with two straight bogeys for a 70 and left him five shots behind in a tie for 12th.
“Very simple. I didn't make any putts,” Woods said. “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.”
Schauffele was at 13-under 127 and will be paired in the third round today with a familiar figure in Philadelphia. Rose, who played bogey-free for a 64, won the AT&T National at Aronimink in 2010, and he captured his only major at nearby Merion in the 2013 U.S. Open.
“Cheese steaks, I guess,” Rose said. “I played well. The crowd latched onto it, for sure. I get good support around here. It's nice when they're reminding you all the time that it's your town, as well. It's nice to have the added bit of enthusiasm from the crowd.”
Hideki Matsuyama, who started the FedEx Cup 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.
The same is true for Bradley and for 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), FedEx Cup champion Justin Thomas (67) and Jason Day (64) were at 9-under 131.
Schauffele said he was on a mission, and the Ryder Cup was merely a byproduct.
“Just prove to myself that I can win again and just be clutch,” he said. “I always thought I was rather a clutch player coming down the stretch and this year has said otherwise. I'm trying to prove it to myself again.”