Henrik Stenson continued his run of scintillating play during Friday's second round at the Tour Championship, firing a four-under 66 to take a four-stroke lead over Adam Scott.
The Swede put on a ball-striking display at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club, showcasing his immense power along with uncanny accuracy.
That combination has helped Stenson mount a stunning resurgence this season after a significant slump in recent years.
|Position||Player||To Par (Scores)|
|1||Henrik Stenson||-10 (64-66)|
|2||Adam Scott||-6 (65-69)|
|3||Jordan Spieth||-5 (68-67)|
|T4||Dustin Johnson||-4 (68-68)|
|T4||Justin Rose||-4 (68-68)|
|T4||Billy Horschel||-4 (66-70)|
|T7||Keegan Bradley||-3 (72-65)|
|T7||Nick Watney||-3 (72-65)|
|T7||Zach Johnson||-3 (69-68)|
|T7||Steve Stricker||-3 (66-71)|
Things started off extremely well for Stenson on Friday, as he stuffed it inside 10 feet—a distance he made all 18 putts from on Day 1—then converted the birdie putt on No. 1 to get to minus-seven for the tournament:
Birdies at two of the next three holes followed, including this monster of a putt at the par-four fourth hole:
Last year's FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker won this event with a total of 10 under par—the first double-digit under par score at the tournament in five years.
Stenson, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship and contended heavily in the year's last two majors, had already reached that mark through 27 holes.
I don't think even Henrik Stenson can believe the way Henrik Stenson is playing right now.— Stina Sternberg (@StinaSternberg) September 20, 2013
However, he cooled off a bit on the back nine but still holds a commanding lead entering the weekend after missing only two fairways and two greens on the day. According to the Golf Channel's telecast, Stenson tied his career-low aggregate score of 130 on the PGA Tour over the first 36 holes.
To his credit, the calm and collected Scott held his own playing alongside Stenson in the midst of a virtuoso performance.
The reigning Masters and Barclays winner overcame two bogeys on the first four holes and matched his playing competitor with a birdie at the par-four 16th hole to stay somewhat close at the end.
Then there's the 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who has legitimately contended in several big tournaments this season and continues to make the most of every opportunity in the playoffs, which he qualified for with his win at the John Deere Classic.
Spieth fired a round of three-under 67, and played the last 12 holes in four under. Any doubts have been erased as to the legitimacy of the hype surrounding him as he looks to become the first rookie ever to win the Tour Championship:
His birdie at the par-four eighth was his second in a row and helped start his stellar run on the day:
Let's take a look at some of the other most notable developments at the FedEx Cup and PGA Tour season finale.
Tiger Woods Collapses Down the Stretch
It looks as though the world No. 1 was making his way back into contention after back-to-back birdies at No. 13 and 14 got him to five under on the day.
Then an unexpected disaster happened over the last five holes, as Woods double bogeyed the 14th, dropped another shot at No. 16 and triple bogeyed the 17th hole to close at one-over 71.
Woods took 34 putts on the afternoon, which is an uncharacteristically high number for someone with his touch on the greens. According to PGATour.com's Brian Wacker, the once seemingly immortal Woods "ran out of gas:"
After the round, the 14-time major champion also said how he's looking forward to the break preceding October's Presidents Cup:
At a tie for 26th out of 30 players, it seems Woods has already acknowledged defeat in sitting 14 strokes off Stenson's lead.
It makes sense, but it adds to Woods' latest run of disappointments in golf's biggest tournaments after not winning a major in 2013.
Dustin Johnson Quietly Lurks in Contention
A bogey-free 68 consisted of Johnson having his own putting woes, but if he's able to turn it on with the flat iron, he could make a serious run on moving day.
Which younger star is likelier to challenge the lead in Round 3?
The biggest statistic to explain Johnson's shortcomings is his ranking of 24th in strokes gained putting, which shows just how many missed opportunities he's had to truly challenge Stenson.
At the very least, Johnson has an excellent chance to make some noise, because with his power, he will be hitting shorter clubs to the green than just about any other player. That's a big reason why Stenson has had a lot of success, and could bode well for Johnson moving forward.