Northern Trust 2018: Jamie Lovemark, Brooks Koepka Share Lead After Round 2

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 24, 2018

RIDGEWOOD, NJ - AUGUST 24:  Jamie Lovemark of the United States reacts to his birdie on the fourth green during the second round of The Northern Trust on August 24, 2018 at the Ridgewood Championship Course in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jamie Lovemark and Brooks Koepka are having their own two-man competition halfway through the first FedEx Cup playoff event with 36-hole scores of 10 under par at the Northern Trust. 

After starting Friday as part of a four-way tie for the lead, Lovemark walked off the course alone in first place with his second consecutive 66. He didn't have time to get comfortable atop his perch because Koepka closed with three straight birdies to join him. 

The crowded leaderboard also features Adam Scott one shot off the lead in third place. Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau are hot on his trail at eight under par.

Here's what the top of the leaderboard from Paramus, New Jersey, looks like:

T1. Jamie Lovemark (-10)

T1. Brooks Koepka (-10)

3. Adam Scott (-9)

T4. Dustin Johnson (-8)

T4. Bryson DeChambeau (-8)

T6. Tommy Fleetwood (-7)

T6. Sean O'Hair (-7)

T6. Kevin Tway (-7)

T6. Ryan Palmer (-7)

T6. Jhonattan Vegas (-7)

Full standings available at PGATour.com

Lovemark has the potential to shake up the FedEx Cup standings if he can keep his momentum going over the next two days. The California native entered this weekend ranked 86th with 576 points. 

Per the projected standings from PGATour.com, Lovemark would earn 2,000 points with a win and move all the way up to fourth place. 

By posting his second straight score of 66, Lovemark continued to be a putting wizard. He gained 4.4 strokes on the green in the first round and 4.4 more in the second and never hit more than two putts on any hole Friday. 

Scott put himself squarely in the mix by posting the lowest single-round score of the tournament thus far with a seven-under 64. A bogey on No. 10 was the only thing standing between himself and a share of the lead going into the weekend. 

It's been an erratic season for Scott, who entered the Northern Trust with two top-10 finishes in 18 PGA Tour events. He did note midway through the PGA Championship two weeks ago that his game was in a better place. 

"I felt like the younger Adam Scott swinging the golf club," Scott told reporters. "There was a bit of ease, grace, flow and rhythm. That was enough to let me play a little more freely."

Scott would ultimately finish third in the year's final major. Based on his performance through two rounds in New Jersey, this could be quite the finishing flurry for the 38-year-old. 

Dustin Johnson could look back on these first two rounds with a sense of frustration if he doesn't win. The world's top-ranked golfer carded a triple-bogey on No. 1—his second straight day going three over on a single hole. 

Despite that major blip on his radar, Johnson has his sights set on the lead going into moving day at two shots behind Lovemark and Koepka. He settled for back-to-back birdies on No. 5 and 6, though he had a chance to make those eagles with these shots:

Justin Ray of the Golf Channel highlighted how unusual it is to accomplish what Johnson has the past two days with a triple-bogey on the scorecard:

Another player still in contention, though with a lot of work ahead to walk away from the tournament with a win, is Phil Mickelson. Lefty posted consecutive rounds of 68 and is four back. 

One marquee star who likely won't find himself in the mix for a win is Tiger Woods. He posted his second consecutive even-par 71. 

The 14-time major champion kept putting himself in a position to post a low score by hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation. His problems came when he pulled the putter out of his golf bag:

While this isn't the start Woods was looking for to begin the FedEx Cup playoffs, the upside is he could rebound with a low score on Saturday. If his approach to the green remains strong, fixing his short game will lead to a round in the mid-60s.

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