JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Matt Kuchar made the most of his short day at The Barclays.
Kuchar didn’t tee off until Friday afternoon at Liberty National and knew he had no chance to finish. He could barely see his ball cross the water and set up a two-putt birdie on the 13th hole that gave him the outright lead, and there was enough light coming from lower Manhattan across the Hudson River to hit his tee shot on the 14th.
The horn sounded, and by then, he was ready to go home.
Kuchar was at 10 under par with five holes remaining and had to return Saturday morning to hold his one-shot lead over Webb Simpson and Gary Woodland, who both finished the second round in the rain-delayed tournament.
As for Tiger Woods, he couldn’t get off the course fast enough.
Woods challenged the target set by Simpson with three birdies in five holes — he was two shots behind — and he had a pair of par 5s in front of him. He failed to make birdie on either of the par 5s, and made three bogeys out of the bunker through the 12th hole to fall off the pace. He made birdie on the 13th, the last hole he completed, but was still five shots behind Kuchar, who was in his group.
“I got off to a great start today and then lost it the middle part of the round and made too many mistakes,” Woods said.
He also said his back remained sore from what he said earlier in the week was due to a soft bed in his hotel.
Rory McIlroy showed more signs of turning his game around. After three double bogeys on Thursday, he limited the mistakes with some nifty par saves and was at 5 under with two holes remaining.
Keegan Bradley set the tournament course record with a 63 and was at 7-under 135, along with Rickie Fowler (64) and Adam Scott, who was tied for the lead at one point until a lazy finish for a 66.
Phil Mickelson, trying to retool his game after his British Open win, had a 69 and was seven shots behind the clubhouse lead.