By Thomas Dodd
- Dustin Johnson continues to lead season-ending TOUR Championship after three-under 67
- US Open winner one shot clear of field with two rounds to play
- World number one Jason Day withdraws with a back injury as Rory McIlroy remains in contention for $10million prize.
EAST LAKE GOLF CLUB, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USA- World number two Dustin Johnson strengthened his grip on the Fedex Cup by taking a one shot lead going into the weekend.
Johnson, who won his maiden major at this year’s US Open, shot a three-under 67 to separate himself from the rest of the field after being tied for the lead at the start of the day.
His nearest challenger is compatriot Kevin Chappell, who as well as looking for his first PGA Tour victory is also seeking to be Davis Love III’s final captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup next week.
The American has done himself no harm at all, and through 36 holes has only made one bogey- by far the best record in the field.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, chasing his first Fedex trophy, sits in a tie for fifth alongside England’s Paul Casey, although the pair are five shots behind Johnson on two under par after even par rounds of 70.
2015 Champion Jordan Spieth struggled throughout the day in East Lake’s penalising rough, eventually signing for a two-over par 72 and a tie for 11th at the halfway stage.
But the big story mid-round was Australian Jason Day, who left the golf course after eight holes citing a back injury.
Day’s withdrawal was his second successive premature departure in two tournaments, after the three-time 2016 winner also retired from the BMW Championship two weeks ago.
The world number one is now no longer eligible to win the Fedex Cup and his early exits will not stand him in good stead for Player of the Year honours, where his biggest challenger must surely be Johnson.
Scotland’s Russell Knox had the low round of the day, a four under par 66 vaulting him to one under par and a place just inside the top 10.
Bubba Watson, the highest ranked American not in next week’s Ryder Cup team, did nothing to enhance his chances of being at Hazeltine by falling to five over par overall after a 73.
Home hero Phil Mickelson, who won this event in 2009, had another disappointing day, and sits last but one in 28th place with six holes to go.
The event, inaugurated as the Fedex Cup finale in 2007, sees the top 30 players in the PGA Tour points standings battling it out for a $10million overall first prize.
Tour Championship Leaderboard after Round Two (East Lake Golf Club, par 70)
* US unless stated
-7 Dustin Johnson
-6 Kevin Chappell
-3 Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Kevin Kisner
-2 Ryan Moore, Rory Mcilroy (NIR), Paul Casey (ENG)
-1 Si Woo Kim (KOR), Russell Knox (SCO), Justin Thomas
E Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott (AUS)
+6 Phil Mickelson
WD Jason Day (AUS)
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