NORTON -- Rory McIlroy, who began the day in a two-way tie for sixth at 6-under, climbed to the top of the leader board in early second round action Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. McIlroy, the defending PGA Champion, matched his first-round score Friday with a 6-under 65 in the second round, then hung on as he withstood an afternoon challenge from Louis Oosthuizen to control a one-shot lead.
Oosthuizen (66-65) went to 11-under when he holed a fabulous greenside flop shot that trickled in for an eagle on the par 4 4th. He made par on his last five holes, and missed a chance to grab a share of the lead when he left a 23-foot chip inches shy of a birdie on 9.
Ryan Moore (64-68) took a bogey at No. 3 to drop out of a two-way tie with McIlroy for the lead at 11-under and wound up in a two-way tie for third with Tiger Woods (64-68) at 10-under.
“Very pleased with how I played today, how I played yesterday as well,” McIlroy said after completing his second round at the par 71 TPC Boston. “In a great position going into the weekend.’’
McIlroy put himself in contention to win the second of the PGA Tour’s four-event playoff series when he started out on No. 10 and came roaring out of the gates with birdies on three of his first six holes to go to 9-under.
He took a three-shot lead over first-round leader Seung-Yul Noh, who wound up shooting and even-par 71 to remain at 9-under, when he hit a 4-iron to within 15 feet for an eagle on the par 5 18th.
“I got off to a nice start and sort of kept the momentum going,’’ said McIlroy, who was accompanied on his round by girlfriend and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, who had the weekend off after being eliminated in the first round of the US Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
“So, yeah, I mean, everything seemed to work pretty well out there,’’ he said. “I felt like I drove the ball a bit better today and hit more fairways, which gave me some more opportunities to make birdies, and I was putting well enough to make a few of those.
“I’m pleased with where I am and looking forward to the weekend.’’
After he birdied No. 1 to go to 12-under, McIlroy bogeyed the next two holes to drop into a two-way lead with Moore at 10-under. “I found that our last nine holes today, the wind started to switch and started to swirl all over the place,’’ McIlroy said. “It was tough to pull the right club.’’
McIlroy got back on track with birdies on Nos. 4 (greenside chip to 4 feet) and 5 (7-iron to 8 feet) and made pars the rest of the way to take an early two-shot lead into the clubhouse.
Oosthuizen (66-65) whittled that lead to one stroke when he finished 6-under for the round, offsetting a bogey on No. 13 with five birdies and one eagle.
“I played really well, hit the ball nicely,’’ Oosthuizen said. “Hit a few loose drives out there but gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. It got a bit difficult, I think, during the last few holes there. The greens were firming up quite a bit. But, yeah, all in all, I’m quite happy.’’
Woods, who teed of at No. 1 at 1:10 p.m., started out strong with birdies on his first two holes before he bogeyed his third. He rebounded, however, when he made a birdie on No. 6, hitting a wedge to within 3 feet beneath the pin to go to 9-under. Woods bogeyed No. 11 to drop to 8-under but birdied Nos. 14 and 17 to finish two shots back of McIlroy after 36 holes.
Jason Dufner (67-66), Chris Kirk (63-70), Charl Schwartzel (68-65), D.A. Points (68-65) and Noh (62-71) were tied for fifth at 9-under.
“We got a bunch of guys stacked up,” Woods said. “But this course is definitely gettable.’’