Rory McIlroy at Barclays 2016: Friday Leaderboard Score and Twitter Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2016

FARMINGDALE, NY - AUGUST 25:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round of The Barclays in the PGA Tour FedExCup Play-Offs on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on August 25, 2016 in Farmongdale, New York.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy pushed himself onto the fringe of contention at the 2016 Barclays on Friday with a two-under 69 in the second round at Bethpage Black.

The Northern Irishman was locked in from tee to green throughout the day. It represented one of the best ball-striking rounds of the season for the 27-year-old superstar, who's still seeking his first PGA Tour victory of 2016. He finished his day four strokes off the lead with play ongoing.

Let's check out his hole-by-hole results from Day 2 on the famed Farmingdale, New York course:

Rory McIlroy at The Barclays: Round 2 Scorecard

And here's a look at the updated tournament leaderboard:

McIlroy is debuting a new Scotty Cameron putter this week, and the results during the first round were far from encouraging. He missed several short putts en route to an even-par day and stated afterward he's still in the transition phase, per Alex Myers of Golf Digest.

"I felt a little tentative at the start," McIlroy said Thursday. "I left a couple short early on and then I missed the short one on the fourth hole today. I struggled a bit, but I stayed with it and stayed patient."

His solution on the front nine Friday was eliminating most of the drama on the greens. He made three birdies over the first seven holes to begin charging up the leaderboard.

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As Golf.com pointed out, none of the makes came from more than six feet thanks to some laser-guided approach shots:

GOLF.com @GOLF_com

Putting is a lot easier if you knock it stiff! Rory McIlroy's birdies today at #TheBarclays: No. 4 - 1'3" No. 6 - 5'8" No. 7 - 4'3"

Two of those three birdies came on par fives, and McIlroy continued to take advantage of his length off the tee with another birdie on the par-five 13th.

He didn't stay at four-under for long. He made a 13-foot putt to save par at No. 14 but wasn't as fortunate on the 15th, where he three-putted for bogey.

The four-time major champion dropped another shot at No. 16. A rare poor approach shot found the greenside bunker, and he couldn't get up and down, missing a mid-range putt for par.

Pat Kiernan of Golf Digest noted it was an example of a tough course fighting back:

Pat Kiernan @pkiernan88

Rory with another up-and-down round. Looked good at 4 under through 11 holes, bogeys two of next three. Golf is tough, venue doesn't help.

McIlroy finished his day with back-to-back pars to halt the sudden slide.

Jason Sobel of ESPN commented on what's become a common sight for the fan favorite:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Rory climbs the leaderboard. Rory drops off the leaderboard. Story of his year.

The Rory McIlroy Zone provided some key stats from Round 2:

Rory McIlroy Zone @Rory_Zone

Round 2 Stats: 7/14 Fwys, 15/18 GIR, 31 putts 4 birdies, 2 bogeys 3.155 SG Tee-Green -1.166 SG putting #TeamRory #TheBarclays

Looking ahead, McIlroy moved himself into position to make a serious run at winning the season's first FedEx Cup playoff tournament. He's been inconsistent throughout the year, but his ball-striking during a majority of the second round was a promising sign.

The biggest question mark remains his putter. He proved Friday that he doesn't need to have a great day on the greens to post a low score. That said, he'll likely need at least one strong putting day over the weekend in order to register a top-five finish, and possibly even win, the event.



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