NORTON — It’s all about the hot start for Ryan Moore. In the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship Friday, Moore got through the front nine in a sizzling 6 under par, beginning his tournament with a 30. In the second round Saturday, Moore did it again, with another 6 under par on the back nine, where he began his day.
While his second halves haven’t been quite as good — he was 1 under Friday and 1 over Saturday — those starts have put Moore in position to contend for the title at TPC Boston. He finished Saturday at 10 under, just two strokes back of leader Rory McIlroy.
“It’s nice to get out making some putts,” Moore said. “I missed a couple of makeable ones real early on the front nine today, but then got it rolling there in the middle, capped it with an eagle on 18.”
Moore went birdie-birdie-birdie on 12, 13, and 14 Saturday. And though he bogeyed 15, he came back with a birdie on 16 and that eagle on 18, a 6-footer, a hole that McIlroy also eagled.
“I hit good shots, good iron shots, and I had actually pretty reasonable putts on all of them,” Moore said. “That’s the key. I’m putting them in the fairway, I’m giving myself those opportunities with the irons, and I’m hitting the irons solid.”
He didn’t play nearly as well on his second nine, as his putting stroke betrayed him. He bogeyed 3, then parred the rest of the holes to finish with a 68 on the day.
“I couldn’t buy a putt,” Moore said. “I had a bunch of really good putts on that next nine. Just burning edges the whole way.”
Moore wasn’t the only one in his group high on the leaderboard. He was paired with Seung-Yul Noh, the first-round leader who slipped to a tie for third with a 71 after his 62 Friday.
“It’s always nice playing next to somebody and with somebody who is playing well,” Moore said. “Makes that cup seem that much bigger sometimes when you’ve got another guy in the group pouring in putts. That was the case [Friday]. I think we both didn’t play quite as well as we did [Friday].”
The difference, in the end, was putting. Moore was very pleased with his putting on the first day. He said he made just about every good birdie chance or par-saving putt that he had in that round.
It was not quite so easy Saturday, especially on his second nine holes, yet Moore is in the hunt heading into the third round. He said he would spend some time working on his alignment before heading back out on the course Sunday.
Moore is in line for his best finish of the season. He tied for fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and tied for fifth at the Wells Fargo in May. He also finished eighth twice, accounting for his four top 10s. He entered the tournament No. 53 in the Fedex Cup standings.
But if he keeps up his impressive golf, Moore — who is 77th in the world golf rankings — has a chance for a season highlight. Or a career one. He has won just once in his career on the PGA Tour, with six second-place finishes.
As well as Moore played, though, he might need to brush up on his local sports knowledge to become a fan favorite here.
The 29-year-old, who grew up in Tacoma, Wash., was asked whether he had ever come across fellow Tacoma native Jon Lester, who is two years younger than the golfer.
“Who?” Moore said. “I honestly have no idea [who he is]. I’d love to meet him sometime.”