Sergio Garcia birdied five of his first seven holes and then closed late with a couple of birdies to take a one stroke lead heading into the third round at the Deutsche Bank Championship. His 64 left him at -13, one shot clear of Robert Castro and Henrik Stenson. Matt Kuchar and PGA Champ Jason Dufner are another couple of strokes back at -10. 20-year-old upstart Jordan Spieth, U.S. Open Champ Justin Rose, and Harris English are all at -9.
The soft conditions at TPC Boston made for a birdie fest as 29 competitors sit at -7 or better. First round co-leader Phil Mickelson seemed to be running in place with an even par 71, but anyone who watched his round would know that it was more like a crazy rollercoaster. Starting on his back nine at -10, he really struggled finding fairways leading to a couple of bogies. He dunked it in the water on the par three 16th, leading to a double bogie, before rallying with birdies on his final two holes.
"I was playing terrible and I shot even par," Mickelson said. "I fought hard. Throughout the course of my career, it happens where you kind of lose it for a little bit. I fought hard in the interim and was able to find it there in the end, giving me confidence heading into the weekend. But more than that, it kept me within striking distance.
Tiger Woods bettered his first round with a 67 to move to a very large group tied at -7. He was joined there by first round co-leader Brian Davis, who fell to a 72. Also in that logjam are FedEx bubble sitters Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, and Bob Estes. They all three need to play a bit better today and tomorrow to move on the BMW Championship in a couple of weeks.
Stenson fired the low round of the day 63 to charge into contention, something he's made a habit of doing the last two months, although he's gone winless during that time.
Garcia would have preferred to have taken this week off, but he needed to play here to ensure that he stay in the FedEx Cup top 70. It looks like it's paying off.
"Unfortunately, I didn't play well enough and it was touch-and-go if I was going to make the BMW without playing here," said Garcia, who is at No. 55. "Sixteen guys could easily pass me if they played well. So we decided to come here and make a little bit of an extra effort of playing five weeks in a row, which I don't usually enjoy very much."
Ryan Palmer, Freddie Jacobson, Sang-Moon Bae, and Tim Clark all put their FedEx Cup status in jeopardy by missing the cut here. There are quite a few that must still play well today and tomorrow to qualify to move on.
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