Martin Flores shot a 1-under 70 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Web.com Tour Finals’ Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.
Stenson ripped a 4-wood from 288 yards to 25 feet and made the eagle putt on the par-5 ninth to go out in 29.
The Texan holed a 10-footer to pick up a birdie on the 12th but his momentum was undone by a bogey on the next hole.
Even so, it was just the start he wanted on a course that he has figured out.
“I think it’s a loss year already, just because I didn’t win a major”, McIlroy said. Spieth is No. 2 in the FedEx Cup, and likewise only has to win to capture the FedEx Cup.
“Unfortunately, dropped one coming in, but that’s not going to spoil the positive vibes and the great round I played”, Stenson said.
Besides the $10 million playoff bonus prize on offer at this week’s season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, the world number one ranking held by Australian Jason Day is also at stake.
But after barely missing a fourth birdie in four holes, Day proved he is human after all and his round unravelled when his tee shot on the fifth sailed well right, hit a tree and bounced out of bounds over a fence. He made triple bogey and never really got back on track. He shot a 69 and was six behind.
“And I had to have the wind blowing this branch back and forth, I had to hit it when it blew it this way or else it would have gone up into it”, he said.
“So no matter what happened this week, OK, it would be nice, it would be a nice consolation if I was to win”.
Spieth contended at the BMW Championship, but confessed he was lacking confidence and consistency in his game.
Technically, he only played in three of them.
For the longest time, Stenson looked uncatchable.
Even Stenson, who has ruled East Lake in his two appearances, stumbled.
Six players were separated by five shots, which includes Paul Casey (71) who was tied with Fowler at 4-under 206. It was an ideal combination for scoring, until the final hour.
PGA Tour officials decided to play the ball down after 1.65 inches of rain fell on the course overnight, and Johnson had the misfortune of having to hit some approach shots from a fairway with mud on his ball.
“My short-game was magic”, Spieth said.
“It is very hard but there is a score to be had out there, especially on the front side where you can get it going”, Day said. “So hopefully, the rest of the week can be as successful as it was then“. So it was a slightly different golf course playing a lot longer than we normally see it, and I didn’t feel like I brought my best striking.
Stenson was at 9-under 131. We know that much.
That knocked McIlroy out of three big tournaments, including The Open. He treated it, worked on his posture and felt as good as new at East Lake.
And now it comes down to one last day in the season.
Jordan Spieth was the big mover on the day, with the 22-year-old climbing to second on the leaderboard on six-under after a round of 66.