Darkness prevented him from finishing his second round but Rory McIlroy is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel again after firing a brilliant seven birdies in 16 holes in The Barclays at Liberty National.
Showing signs of a return to top form with every round, the world No 3 scorched up the leaderboard with five birdies in his first eight holes.
He then sandwiched a sensational birdie at the 10th between two bogeys but picked up another shot with a tap in birdie four at the 13th and added three pars to get to five under, just four strokes behind clubhouse leaders Webb Simpson (66) and Gary Woodland (64).
US Ryder Cup star Matt Kuchar played his first 13 holes in five under alongside Brandt Snedeker and Tiger Woods to get his nose in front on 10 under par when play was suspended for the day due to darkness.
But McIlroy was already up to joint 15th with Woods after some sensational play and projected to move from 49th to 35th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Starting on level par after an adventurous 71 featuring three double bogeys, , he started in ideal fashion drained a 30 footer for birdie at the first and then rolled home a four footer at the third to get to two under.
A 40 foot bunker shot went in for birdie at the 183 yard fourth and after narrowly missing from 16 feet at the fifth he hit a 167 yard approach to four feet for birdie at the seventh, then holed a 12 footer for birdie at the 611 yard eighth despite finding sand off the tee.
His first mistake came at the ninth when he found the deep greenside rough and could make the putting surface with his recovery and turned in four under 32.
He responded with a fantastic birdie at the 10th, hitting a 195-yard approach to 10 feet, but found rough left of the par three 11th and again failed to get on the green with his recovery.
A bogey there didn’t appear to dent his confidence in the slightest and after going close with another 16 footer at the 12th, he made a chip and putt birdie at the par-five 13th to get back to five under.
Forced to get up and down from greenside sand at the 14th, he played a superb low cut out of trouble right of the 15th and two putted for par.
Going for the green at the driveable 16th, he found the back trap but finish 25 feet away with his recovery and had to settle for par.
it was still a good day’s work as Tiger Woods, struggling with a stiff back, followed three early birdies with three bogeys before birdie at the 13th left him tied for 15th with McIlroy.
Graeme McDowell was level par for the round and the tournament through 14 holes but facing a penalty stroke after hitting his approach into water at the par-five sixth.
The Portrush man began with a birdie from five feet at the 10th, saved par from just inside five feet at the 12th and 16th and the birdied the 17th with a 168 yard approach to three feet to get to two under.
A double bogey six at the 18th, where he drove into sand and took three to get down from a greenside bunker after a lay up, left him back where he started the day on level par.
After missing birdie chances from eight feet at the third and 10 feet at the fifth, he went for the green from 206 yards at the par-five sixth but missed right in the lake and will return today battling to save par.