Horschel takes two-shot lead in Tour Championship
ATLANTA — Billy Horschel showed why he might be the hottest player in golf at the moment with another 4-under 66 on Friday in the Tour Championship. It was his 10th straight round in the 60s. He already has a victory and a runner-up finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
And now he gets to take on the best player in golf.
Rory McIlroy rode three big putts and one bizarre break — a tee shot landed in a spectator’s pocket — on his way to a 65 that left him two shots behind and put him in the final group at East Lake going into the homestretch of the FedEx Cup.
At stake for both of them — along with Chris Kirk — is a shot at the $10 million bonus.
“I’m a guy that when I feel good about my game, I’ve got some confidence that I’m going to figure out some way to play well and post a number,” Horschel said.
That he has done.
Horschel is 35 under par in his last 10 rounds. He was runner-up at the Deutsche Bank Championship two weeks ago, when he squandered a shot to at least get into a playoff by chunking a 6-iron into a hazard. And he followed that with a victory in the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills.
And now he has a pair of 66s, putting him at 8-under 132 at East Lake.
McIlroy made his only bogey with a buried lie at the face of a bunker on No. 4, causing him to blast out sideways. He bounced back with birdies, and poured it on at the end of his round with a 12-foot par save, a 20-foot birdie and a 25-foot birdie.
And then there was his par on the 14th, which looked ordinary only on paper. His tee shot drifted right into the pine trees, clattered around and dropped straight down. No one knew where it went until a fan realized it had fallen into the front pocket of his shorts.
PGA Tour rules official Robby Ware made sure the fan had not moved, and McIlroy was given a free drop under Rule 19-1-a.
Retrieving the ball? McIlroy wasn’t going there.
“I know how sweaty my pockets are. I’m not going into anyone else’s,” McIlroy said. “I need to stop hitting it off line. Things happen there.”
McIlroy was joined by Jason Day, who made bogey on his last hole for a 67; and Kirk, who made two bogeys on the back nine that offset a run of four straight birdies around the turn for a 68.
Web.com Tour Finals
At Columbus, Ohio, Ashland native Jason Allred missed the cut after shooting an even-par 71 during the second round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.
Allred — who recorded a 75 on Thursday — finished with an eagle, three birdies and five bogeys.
The eagle came on the par-5 12th hole.
Derek Fathauer shot a 2-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead in the third of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Fathauer, 13th on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list to secure a 2014-15 PGA Tour card, had a 10-under 132 total on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
At Evian-Les-Bains, France, Brittany Lincicome had six birdies in a 6-under 65 to take a one-shot lead from Hyo-Joo Kim of South Korea at the halfway stage of the Evian Championship.
The 28-year-old American has won a major before, the Kraft Nabisco in 2009, but clinched the last of her five LPGA titles in 2011 at the Canadian Women’s Open.
She finished second behind South Korea’s Inbee Park at this year’s LPGA Championship, when she also led after 36 holes.
The day after making history with the lowest ever score in a women’s or men’s major with a 10-under 61, Kim had four bogeys and rescued her round with three birdies on the back nine — including a 35-footer on the last hole. Countrywoman Mi-Jung Hur is three shots behind Lincicome.