At the midway point of the 2014 edition of The Barclays, several players have staked their claim to the top of the leaderboard. However, after all the attention over the last few weeks has shifted to new world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, it’s Adam Scott who suddenly looks like the man to beat in the FedEx Cup Playoff opener.
Scott began play on Friday four shots behind first-round leader Bo Van Pelt, but quickly made his way up the leaderboard. His birdie streak from the fifth through the eighth holes allowed him to make the turn in four-under 31. He didn’t have a blemish on his card after an early bogey on the par-5 third, and yet he still thinks he left shots on the course.
“I mean, I played the par 5s one over today,” Scott said in his post-round media session. “So I could find four there for you, and missed so many 10-footers it felt like. I could pick a lot of shots.” Tying the low round of the tournament with a 65 to share the lead at -8 with Cameron Tringale, that’s saying something.
Scott’s aggressive approach to the round allowed him to overcome a weakness in his usually strong putting game. Through two rounds, Scott has hit 28 of 26 greens in regulation, including an astounding 16 on Friday. However, he’s just 64th in the field in strokes-gained putting and even par on the par-5’s. For the year, Scott led the PGA Tour in birdie conversion on par-5’s and finished 12th in the strokes gained category.
While that isn’t a promising stat on its face, in reality, it’s precisely what makes Scott so dangerous heading into the weekend. His game has been as good as ever from tee to green, and he just hasn’t converted the birdies, instead settling for par far more often than he’d like.
If Scott can get just one or two more of those putts that have burned the cups’ edges to drop each day, he’ll be tough for anybody to catch. Don’t be surprised to see Scott in the spotlight once again on Sunday afternoon.