Recap of the day
Starting round two outside the top 20, there wasn't much attention on Hideki Matsuyama when he teed off in the fourth group of the day at Medinah Country Club. It was a different story later on when he drained a 30-footer with his 63rd swipe of the round to complete a new course record and post the clubhouse lead of 12-under 132. Patrick Cantlay pulled to within one after a 67 while Tony Finau made a charge for top spot before slotting in at T2 after closing with three pars for a 66. First-round leader Justin Thomas started poorly but recovered to shoot 69 to take solo fourth on 10-under, just two back. Still no Europeans in the top 10. For the full 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah effect, perhaps they're waiting until Sunday before launching a charge. Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood are the best of them at 8-under.
Notables: -8 Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, -7 Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, -5 Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, -3 Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, -2 Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, +1 Francesco Molinari, +2 Shane Lowry.
Revised outright betting: 5/1 Matsuyama, Cantlay, 6/1 Thomas, 7/1 Finau, 11/1 McIlroy, 14/1 Schauffele, 22/1 Rahm, 25/1 Fleetwood.
Saturday weather forecast
A little hotter on Saturday with temperatures in the high 80s by early afternoon. Winds are light so a chance for some low scores. Hopefully the daily t-storm threat will fail to come to anything again.
Leaders after at 18 holes
Hideki Matsuyama (63, 132) – Birdied half the holes but could have been more (failed to pick up shots on two of the par 5s). No bogeys yet this week and he's wielding a red-hot putter. In fact his +5.258 strokes gained putting figure today was a career high on the PGA TOUR. Ranks fourth in SG: Tee to Green so a powerful combo.
Patrick Cantlay (67, 133) – T2 for birdies after five more today and just one bogey on the week. Impressive stats across the board although hasn't hit as many greens as the other leaders.
Tony Finau (66, 133) – Six birdies and 12 pars. Finau is having a blast and ranks 1st for SG: Tee to Green and 3rd for Approach. Piped 12 of the 14 fairways and recorded a second straight positive SG: Putting figure so everything clicking.
Fate of the favorites
Rory McIlroy (67, 136) – He's lurking. McIlroy was 1-over for the round and 2-under for the tournament after six holes today but birdied six of the final 12 to rise up 14 spots on the day to T11. Hitting it beautifully off the tee but here's the key: Rory lost over two strokes putting yesterday but gained over two today.
Brooks Koepka (71, 139) – Was 7-under with four to play today after 12 pars and three birdies at par 5s but then bogeyed two of the last four to drop seven off the pace. Nothing looking sharp enough and might now save himself for next week.
Jon Rahm (69, 137) – Played the first three par 5s in 4-under (eagle at 7) but took six swishes on the final one (14). Solid stats but nothing really jumping out. Can still win from five back though.
Dustin Johnson (72, 142) – Where's the real DJ gone? A nothing round today of even par with just a lone birdie. Hit just six fairways, lost strokes on Approach and putter went cold again after a decent day on the greens in round one.
Hideki Matsuyama (63): "Yeah, I did make a lot of long putts today and that was the difference. I wish I knew why I putted so well today. But I was happy that a lot of them went in. As they went in you start gaining more confidence and as your confidence builds, more putts go in, too. I'm really happy with my position. It's been a long time since I've been in contention. Hopefully I can play well. I've been struggling for a while this year. Hopefully that can turn around and I'll have a good weekend."
Patrick Cantlay (67): "Did play solidly. Obviously no bogeys. That's a goal when you step on the first tee every day. Putted really well and played smart when I had to and was able to put a good number up again. All the parts of my game are feeling good and I really like the golf course this week, which I think is a bonus."
Tony Finau (66): "I think it's a great driving golf course. It looks pretty good to me off the tee and I'm a very visual player, very creative player. I think that plays a big part of the story. It's a golf course that looks good to me. I've been able to drive the ball in the fairway, which led to birdies."
Justin Thomas (69): "I got off to a terrible start as well as I drove the ball. I really couldn't kind of get focused and get going but stayed patient and kind of stuck to our process and turned out a decent round."
Adam Hadwin (68): (Comparing to R1 67): "Little more "scrambly". Didn't hit as many fairways. Lucky to kind of draw some good lies in the rough and be able to hit some good shots in. Got up and down when I needed to, made a couple nice putts on the backside and standing in good position through 36. I got a pretty good feel around this place. It's the type of golf course that I grew up on so feel comfortable."
Lucas Glover (69): "You have to drive it in the fairway and be pretty precise with your numbers. Short game is huge, with the exception of today, a couple of dumped chips. That's been pretty much my strength this year. Yeah, pleased with where I'm at. Love the golf course. Love the condition it's in and looking forward to the weekend."
Rory McIlroy (67): "I feel I haven't had my best stuff over the first few days. I was able to put together a decent round yesterday and fight back today and play the last 12 holes in 6-under par. It's getting there. Some better iron shots on the back-9. Converted some putts and I'm in a decent position going into the weekend."
Tiger Woods (71): "I left quite a few shots out there. I hit the ball a lot better today, which is great, and didn't really make anything until what is it, 14, 15? I'm going to have to have a great weekend and make a lot of birdies this week and post some rounds in the mid-60s to give myself a chance at it (qualifying for East Lake; he's currently projected to finish 45th)."
Road to victory at BMW Championship
2018 Keegan Bradley – R1: 12th, R2: 3rd, R3: 6th
2017 Marc Leishman – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2016 Dustin Johnson – R1: 3rd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2015 Jason Day – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2014 Billy Horschel – R1: 4th, R2: 3rd, R3: 1st
Notes: Despite this being the first BMW to be played at Medinah, the 70-man fields used at past BMWs help link the present to the past. Previous editions show that the eventual winner was hugely prominent by this stage. Starting from the first BMW in 2007, every champion was in the top four at halfway while none was more than three strokes back.
Fate of the 36-hole leaders at the BMW – where did they finish?
Notes: With less threats to their lead (70-man field), R2 pacesetters have a strong record. Starting from 2007, there are five instances of a 36-hole leader going on to win and three of those were in the last five years. Every halfway leader has finished in the top ten apart from Mark Wilson who slid to T22 after shooting 77-76 on the weekend in 2011.
Focus on – Hideki Matsuyama
When Matsuyama finished tied second in the 2017 U.S. Open, he rose to the giddy heights of second in the World Golf rankings. After a brief slip to third, he went back to second with victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (closing 61) followed by tied fifth at the PGA Championship. But that summer peak soon gave way to a gentle slide and last year he slipped outside the top 30. He's spent most of 2019 hovering around the same mark, starting the BMW in 32nd spot. A look at his stats show that his driving and work around the greens dipped last year but his 2019 numbers are remarkably similar to what he did two years ago. His own thoughts on the matter? "My season so far has been not bad. Better than last year but nothing that I'm satisfied with," he said after today's 63. Full marks for honesty but perhaps he looks ripe for a big week soon and this could be it.
Off The Tee: 23rd (2017), 70th (2018), 23rd (2019)
Approach: 5th (2017), 6th (2018), 8th (2019)
Around The Green: 16th (2017), 60th (2018), 16th (2019)
Putting: 167th (2017), 78th (2018), 114th (2019)
Tee To Green: 3rd (2017), 16th (2018), 7th (2019)
Focus on – FedExCup Top 30
As well as trying to win the trophy, the other main aim this week is to secure a place in the top 30 who advance to next Thursday's TOUR Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.
Here's a look at the current projections if this week's tournament were to be declared over after 36 holes:
Focus on - Meanwhile in the Czech Republic...
While Francesco Molinari sits 64th out of 69 here, his brother Edoardo is the halfway leader at the European Tour's D+D Real Czech Masters. Although down at 356th in the world, the elder Molinari has been on the up in recent times with two top tens in his last four starts. Edoardo's explanation? "The reason for this form is a bit of a secret which I’m going to keep to myself for now." Intriguing!