Rory chasing Horschel heading into TOUR Championship weekend

Weekend Preview – PGA Tour – FedEx Cup Playoffs – TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola –East Lake Country Club – Atlanta, Georgia –

It’s been quite a three-week run in the FedEx Cup Playoffs for Billy Horschel.

The American was runner-up at the Deutsche Bank Championship and then won last week’s BMW Championship to sore up the FedEx Cup Standings into second just behind Chris Kirk. He also bounced up the world ranking list from 59th to now No. 23 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

He now leads the PGA Tour season-finale at the TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola through two rounds with a shot to capture the FedEx Cup and bring home another $11 million in prize money.

At 8-under at East Lake Country Club, Horschel leads three others by two shots including top-ranked Rory McIlroy, Kirk and Jason Day. The final pair of Horschel and McIlroy tees off at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Day, who finished runner-up at The Barclays in the first leg of the playoffs, shared the lead at East Lake for a bit in round two before settling for a 6-under tally. He has back-to-back 67s heading into Saturday’s round.

Former FedEx Cup champion and TOUR Championship victor Jim Furyk headlines a group at T-5 at 4-under overall.

Rory will need to apply some pressure to the 27-year-old Horschel, who opened as a 22-to-1 betting selection at this week, to rattle the leader.

McIlroy’s 5-under-65 Friday put him in position. Can he keep the momentum after a long string of contending week in and week out? Rory has already said he’s a bit tired and can use a break before the Ryder Cup. But, with a win this week, he would capture the FedEx Cup title.

Other Golf News:

  • France’s Romain Wattel, a 40-1 underdog to start the week, leads the European Tour’s KLM Dutch Open through 54 holes. The 23-year-old, who is 125th in the world ranking, is three shot ahead of Richie Ramsay and four up on Paul Casey. Casey posted 8-under-62 to find himself in the mix.
  • Derek Fathauer continues his advantage at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in the Tour Finals. At 10-under, he is three shots clear of former PGA Tour winner Vaughn Taylor heading into the weekend.
  • Horschel enters Saturday’s third round in Atlanta on a string of 10 straight rounds in the 60s.
  • Masters champion Bubba Watson, just one off the lead after 18 holes in East Lake, shot 3-over-73 Friday to fall back to T-14 at even-par overall.
  • Hyu-Joo Kim (8-under) leads the LPGA Tour’s final major of the year at the Evian Championship. She is looking for her first major title. Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is just one back heading into the final round Sunday.  Kim has back-to-back 72s after opening with 61.