Brooks Koepka rolled in a six-foot birdie putt to cap a six-under-par round of 65 on Friday and grab a share of the lead with Jamie Lovemark after the second round of The Northern Trust in Paramus, N.J.
Koepka shot a four-under 30 on the back nine at the Ridgewood Country Club to pull even with Lovemark, who has posted a pair of 66s, as both players reached the midway point of the tournament at 10 under.
A lot is at stake for both players.
Koepka, who has two major titles under his belt already this year, has a shot to take over the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings for the first time in his career.
Lovemark, who entered the week ranked No. 86 in the FedExCup standings, is attempting to secure his spot in the final three playoff events.
“It’s another good, big event,” Lovemark told the Golf Channel. “It’s a great field, a great course, and obviously if we play well here, then we can move on to [the Tour Championship] in Atlanta hopefully.”
Australian Adam Scott, coming off a third place finish at the PGA Championship, is one shot back at nine under. Top-ranked Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau are another shot off the pace, with Ryan Palmer, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas and first-round co-leaders Sean O’Hair and Kevin Tway tied for sixth place at seven under.
Tiger Woods’s minor mid-round surge to two under was snuffed out by a pair of bogeys over his final four holes, including a three-putt from 28 feet on the 18th that left him perched perilously close to the cut line. He ultimately made the weekend, but at even-par he is 10 shots behind the leaders.
Phil Mickelson and reigning FedExCup champion Justin Thomas are among a host of players at six under, while Jordan Spieth posted his second consecutive round of 70 to sit at two under along with Masters champion Patrick Reed. Spieth was 3 under through his first nine holes but suffered a triple bogey on No. 18 - his 10th hole of the day - that included missing a tap-in six-inch putt.
Among those missing the cut were reigning Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele (one over), The Open champion Francesco Molinari two over), fourth-ranked Justin Rose (four over) and fifth-ranked Jon Rahm (six over).
Lovemark went out earlier in the day, teeing off on the ninth hole on the composite layout of the 27 holes on the Ridgewood property. He birdied his first hole but really got his day going with five birdies over a six-hole stretch in the middle of his round. Lovemark, who has made 311 feet worth of putts through 36 holes, even reached 11 under before a bogey on the par-three sixth hole.
“My speed has been pretty good, that matches the line pretty well and they’ve just been going in,” he said. “I felt like it was just a matter of time before I started putting well, and this is the week.”
Scott posted the low round of the tournament thus far with his seven-under 64 on Friday. He made the turn in four-under 31, then bogeyed No. 10 before reeling off four more birdies over his final seven holes.
“I played well yesterday, but I hit a few more fairways today so I had a few more shots at the greens and created more chances,” Scott, who shot a 69 on Thursday, told the Golf Channel. “I think my putting was good, too. I holed the putts that you’re hoping to make.”
Scott, who has struggled with his putting since the ban on anchoring was instituted in 2016, has played well since adding a short putter to his bag earlier this summer. It was intended to help with generating speed on longer putts, but Scott has rarely used it as the long putter has been working well.
“I think I’ve scared the long putter into performing a bit better,” he said. “It’s just sitting there, waiting for a run, and it’s only had a couple of putts in the four tournaments that I’ve used it so far.”