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Kuchar takes 2-shot lead at halfway point

August 24, 2013

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Matt Kuchar expanded his lead to two shots at The Barclays without making a single par Saturday morning.

Kuchar played five holes Saturday morning to complete the second round at Liberty National. His first shot of the day was a 30-foot birdie putt. He followed that with a poor tee shot that led to bogey, two short birdie putts, and another poor drive on the 18th for a bogey.

It gave him a 6-under 65 and a two-shot lead over Webb Simpson and Gary Woodland going into the third round.

Tiger Woods made a 10-foot birdie on the 17th hole and saved par from a bunker on the 18th to end his up-and-down round at 69, leaving him five shots behind.

Kuchar was at 11-under 131.

The tournament was delayed by six hours on Thursday because of rain. The third round featured threesomes off both sides, and with a brilliant blue sky along the banks of Hudson River, the tournament was expected to be back on schedule by the end of Saturday.

The third round also figured to go a long way toward unscrambling a leaderboard packed with some of golf’s best players. Sixteen players were separated by five shots at the halfway point of The Barclays, half of them major champions.

Rory McIlroy hit a tough tee shot into the wind on the 18th and made an 8-foot birdie putt for a 65 that put him in the large group at 6-under 136 that included Woods, Sergio Garcia and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.

Masters champion Adam Scott (66) and former PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who had a tournament course record of 63, were in the group at 7-under 135.

It was a tough end for so many others, however.

The Barclays is the first of four tournaments in the FedEx Cup playoffs, and only the top 100 players in the standings advance to the second stage next week outside Boston. Morgan Hoffmann figured to be one of them. He was looking for a strong finish to get among the final groups. Instead, he finished with a pair of double bogeys to miss the cut by one shot and end his season.

Thirteen players ranked outside the top 100 failed to make the cut, so they are done for the year. That opened the door for others who narrowly made the cut and now have the weekend to try to advance. That group includes Erik Compton, who finished birdie-birdie to make the cut on the number. He came into the playoffs at No. 117.

J.J. Henry also bogeyed his final hole to miss the cut by one shot. He was at No. 97, making it unlikely he would get through to next week.

Kuchar won The Barclays three years ago when it was played at Ridgewood Country Club. He already has won twice this season.

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