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McIlroy surges back, Chappell may be last NorCal pro in FedEx Cup contention

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Newly re-crowned World #1 Rory McIlroy surged back into contention Friday during the second round of the Barclays Championship, being played August 21–24 at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. Reversing on the 3-over 74 he shot in Thursday’s opening round, which included a 4-over 40 on his opening nine, the young Northern Irishman regrouped and came back with a 6-under 65 for Friday’s second round.

McIlroy’s 3-under total leaves him in a tie for 27th going into the weekend, five strokes back of co-leaders Adam Scott, of Australia, and Cameron Tringale, a fourth-year pro from Laguna Niguel, California. Scott, who relinquished the World #1 ranking spot to McIlroy at the beginning of August after 12 weeks on top of the rankings, posted a 5-under 31 on the front nine, with one bogey, coming back in 2-under 34 for a 69-65–134 to tie Tringale for the 36-hole lead. The Australian sealed the deal with a 155-yard second shot into the 470 yard par-four 18th hole that settled a foot from the hole, leaving him a tap-in for a birdie and the tie.

Tringale, who is playing in his first FedEx Cup race since turning pro in 2010, opened the tournament with a 5-under 66 on Thursday, good for T2 behind Bo VanPelt’s 65. A shaky start to Friday’s round, when he opened bogey-par-double bogey to go 3-over in his first three holes, didn’t fluster Tringale, who settled in and made four birdies in the next six holes, then two more in his closing nine, finishing with a 3-under 68 for a 66-68–134 36-hole total.

The 26-year-old Southern California native hit the news last week when he disqualified himself from the PGA Championship four days after the fact, forfeiting $53,000 in winnings. After missing a birdie putt on the 11th hole at Valhalla on August 10, during the last round of the PGA Championship, Tringale took a stroke at the 3-inch putt that was left, but missed. Called on the whiff by his playing partner, Matt Jones, Tringale declared that he had had no intent to make a stroke—and according to the Rules of Golf, if there is no intent, there is no stroke.

Mulling the situation over in the ensuing days, however, Tringale decided that he would rather live with the consequences of missing out on the 38 FedEx Cup points and the $53,000 check for his T-33 finish than to question himself on the issue for years to come. Fate is apparently paying the young man back for his honesty, as the solid play he is demonstrating this week bids fair to see him through to the Tour Championship at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club in three weeks’ time.

Kevin Chappell may be only NorCal golfer to carry on in FedEx Cup race

Fresno’s Kevin Chappell may be the only Northern California golfer to advance to the next round of the FedEx Cup Championships from this week’s Barclays Championship. Derek Ernst, the 2nd-year pro from Clovis, failed to find a spot within the Top 125 field that was required to advance to the championship series, and Sacramento native Nick Watney and the Bay Area’s James Hahn played themselves out of the series after the second round of the Barclays Championship. Neither Watney nor Hahn could muster the low Friday round that would have been required to overcome the 5-over 76s they each carded in the opening round. The pair finished two and three strokes over the cutline, respectively.

While Chappell’s 7-under T-3 after 36 holes sees him solidly into the weekend, and possibly as far as the Tour Championship in three weeks, one more Northern Californian has a mathematical chance of playing in the next round of the Tour Championship series. Ricky Barnes, a native of Stockton now living in Arizona, opened the tournament with a 3-under 68 but stumbled to a 4-over 75 in the second round, making the cut on the number to advance to the weekend, but dropping further below the 100th spot required to advance to next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.

Where there’s life there’s hope, the saying goes, and advancing to play the weekend gives Barnes hope of moving up the leaderboard and improving his position in the FedEx Cup race from his current position in the 113th spot. Much depends upon what other players ahead of and behind him do, but a finish solidly inside the top 50 in this week’s tournament just might be enough to secure the points he needs to move into the Top 100 and move on to the next round.