Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell are on the outside looking in as the $10m FedEx Cup race hots up in the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.
That’s because they are outside the top-70 in the FedEx Cup standings who progress to the third playoff event in Chicago next week.
But while the Dubliner is on the back foot after a two over 73 ended his run of eight successive sub-par rounds, McDowell is finally looking on the bright side again after he shot his first bogey-free round for more than two months.
The 32-year old Ulsterman’s three under 68 was nowhere near as good as the 63 Adam Scott shot to grab a share of the lead with Bubba Watson (64) and Charl Schwartzel (66) on 10 under par.
But it will have felt that way to a man who’s last bogey-free round was the eight under 64 that gave him the lead entering what turned out to be the final round of the Barclays Scottish Open at Castle Stuart last July.
He’ll be hoping for a better follow up round this time after following that effort with another of those accidented rounds that have characterised his season, a 74 that featured a nine on a par-five.
Tied for 33rd on three under par, McDowell’s projected to move from 84th to 74th in the standings if the tournament placings remain the same.
That’s just shy of the magical top 70 which means that the 2010 US Open champion may need to finish as high as 20th to guarantee his ticket to the no-cut, 72 hole BMW Championship at Cog Hill.
The computer (See who needs to do what in the PGA Tour’s guide here) says that 32nd place might be enough but he can’t afford to take that chance.
For Harrington, it’s a similar story. But while the Dubliner was 80th in the FedEx Cup standings starting the week, he’s projected to slip to 89th.
He might only need to finish 35th to make it to the Windy City, but he’s three shots away from that mark in joint 61st on level par with two rounds to go.
His second round was a tale of frustration on the greens and the three par-fives, which he played in one after follwing two pars with a bogey six at the last.
Two over for the three-shot holes so far this week, Harrington missed more than his share of 10 footers in a 31-putt round.
Scott, Watson and Schwartzel lead by shot from Brandt Snedeker, who had a hole in one in a 64, and by two from Nick Watney.