Jim Furyk rallies to lead as Tiger, Phil falter in Tour Championship

Devil Ball Golf

ATLANTA - Jim Furyk has had good times at East Lake. Eight figures worth of good times, to be exact. He won the Tour Championship here a couple years ago, and on Friday proved that he's still got an eye for the course with a six-under performance that paced the entire field. He now sits a stroke up (-7) on Justin Rose, in good position as the field heads to the second half of one of the season's marquee PGA Tour events.

"I heard a comment from Rory [McIlroy] yesterday saying that, you know, you've got to get the ball on the fairway [at East Lake]," Furyk said. "If you don't, life's tough.  I felt like yesterday for how little I got the ball on the fairway, to get it around 1‑under was pretty good.  So today I was able to get the ball on the fairway and attack a little more, and it showed in my scores."

[Related: Bubba Watson hits fan, gives glove]

Furyk put himself in position to lead the Tour Championship by reeling off an incredible 7 straight 3s to start the round, the best such run since Charl Schwartzel did the same thing over nine holes of the Bridgestone Invitational earlier this year. In all, Furyk had 10 threes, two off the season record set by Greg Owen at the RBC.

Thursday's co-leader Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Bo Van Pelt kept pace, with the latter two finishing two strokes back.

In terms of the FedExCup, McIlroy still controls the day and will continue to do so unless he finishes much deeper in the field. He's currently T7, but in order for Furyk to win another FedExCup, McIlroy will need to finish T11 or worse. McIlroy followed Thursday's 69 with a 68 on Friday.

On the other hand, some notable names didn't quite get the afternoon they wanted. Tiger Woods shot a three-over 73, leaving him tied for 12th, six strokes back a 1-under. Phil Mickelson fired a 71, but is at even par overall. Brandt Snedeker is T10, four strokes back of Furyk. And poor Nick Watney remains in dead last, following Thursday's 75 with an only slightly-less-ugly 74.

After his less-than-sterling day, Woods had this memorable exchange with a reporter:

Q.  Is there any way you can explain how you go from playing really well one day to not as well the next day?
TW:  Yep, golf.

Q.  Just golf, huh?
TW:  Uh‑huh.

We need to all start using that excuse whenever something goes wrong for us. Try it at work and see how it works for you.

We're halfway home, and as we've seen earlier this year, Furyk can take a tournament a long way but might need a bit of help taking it home. Good thing he knows how to win here.

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