Atlanta: Soon to be without a house, Rory McIlroy again showed he feels completely at home in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs as he stayed on track on Friday to secure the season-long title and the bonus of $10 million (Dh36.7 million).
The globe-trotting world number one, who is selling his $3.2 million mansion in Northern Ireland because he hardly ever stays there, carded a two-under-par 68 in the Tour Championship second round to remain atop the FedExCup points standings.
Though Jim Furyk moved one stroke clear of the elite 30-man field in the season-ending tournament after firing a superb 64, McIlroy would have to finish 12th or worse on Sunday to give the American a chance of clinching the playoff title.
McIlroy will enter Saturday’s third round at East Lake Golf Club trailing Furyk by four strokes and is oozing confidence after winning three times in his last four PGA Tour starts.
“I’m only four shots back, so I’ve still got a good chance going into the weekend,” the mop-haired Northern Irishman told reporters after ending the second round at three-under 137.
“I’m just going to go out and do the same thing,” McIlroy said of his strategy for Saturday. “Try to play well, give myself plenty of opportunities, hit fairways and get on the greens. That’s all I can think about.”
Asked how much he had thought about the lucrative FedExCup title over the last two days after being the dominant player in the first three playoff events, he replied: “Every now and then, of course.
“I think it’s natural. There is so much emphasis on it. But first and foremost you’ve really got to concentrate on trying to stay in the moment and just think about this tournament.”
McIlroy, who won his second major title by a staggering eight shots at last month’s PGA Championship, said his East Lake strategy could change in Sunday’s final round.
“We just have to play until we reach that point,” the 23-year-old said. “At the minute, I’m just concentrating on trying to play as well as I can.
“If it comes down to it on Sunday where I need to really know what I have to do for the last few holes, then if I have a decision to make between protecting my lead in the FedExCup or trying to win the golf tournament, I think I know what I’m going to choose.”
McIlroy, who surprisingly does not own a car, confirmed he had put his Northern Ireland mansion, with its golfing practice facilities, on the market earlier this week.
“From a financial point of view, it just didn’t make sense to keep it,” he said. “Obviously I’ve put a lot (of investment) into it, but it just made it easy to sell it because I’m not there so much.
“I’m travelling all over the world, and never really spend too much time anywhere so I don’t have a full-time base over here and I don’t think I will have one for a while.
“When I go back home to Northern Ireland, I’ll spend time with my mom and dad, and hope they have a room for me there,” added McIlroy, who spends only two weeks a year in his home country.
Scores on Friday after the second round of the $8 million US PGA Tour Championship (par-70, USA unless noted):
133 - Jim Furyk 69-64
134 - Justin Rose (ENG) 66-68
135 - Bubba Watson 69-66, Bo Van Pelt 67-68
136 - Dustin Johnson 69-67, Matt Kuchar 67-69
137 - Rory McIlroy (NIR) 69-68, Robert Garrigus 68-69, Zach Johnson 68-69
138 - Carl Pettersen (SWE) 71-67, Brandt Snedeker 68-70
139 - Rickie Fowler 71-68, Webb Simpson 71-68, Ryan Moore 69-70, Tiger Woods 66-73
140 - Luke Donald (ENG) 71-69, John Senden (AUS) 72-68, Jason Dufner 70-70, Phil Mickelson 69-71, Steve Stricker 67-73, Scott Piercy 67-73