Recap of the day
With conditions not as testing, scoring was better in round two (15 of the 18 players broke par) and when the wind died down later on, the par-4 18th turned into a birdie hole. Two of those who cashed in at the closer were joint-overnight leaders Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland, who both hit excellent approaches to set up walk-off birdies. Reed's banked him a commanding three-shot lead while Woodland's was the final part of a birdie-birdie-birdie finish which lifted him back to solo second. Behind them, the two big movers were defending champion Jon Rahm and tournament host Tiger Woods as both jumped five and six spots respectively to tied third.
Full leaderboard: -12 Patrick Reed, -9 Gary Woodland, -8 Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson, -6 Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, -5 Justin Rose, -3 Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar, Chez Reavie, -1 Xander Schauffele, +1 Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, +2 Patrick Cantlay, ,+3 Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau.
Low round of the day: 66 Reed, Rahm, Woods.
Revised outright betting: 13/8 Reed, 3/1 Rahm, 6/1 Woodland, 11/1 Stenson, Thomas, 14/1 Woods, 18/1 Fowler, 28/1 Rose.
Friday weather forecast
Once again, it's a mix of sunshine/cloud and temperatures in the mid-70s. The easterly winds blow at around 10mph but could drop a touch in the afternoon.
Leaders at 36 holes
Patrick Reed (66, 132) – Reed shared the R1 lead with a 66 and threw down another today to open up daylight. A coincidence that it's the Presidents Cup next week? Captain America outpaced a lone bogey with seven birdies, including three straight from 9-11. The mystery new irons he has in his bag this week are working nicely.
Gary Woodland (69, 135) – Was going along nicely enough (-2 through 13) and then bogeyed the back nine's easiest two holes (14 and 15). The US Open champion's response was a hat-trick of closing birdies to secure outright second and another day in the company of Reed in the final group.
Jon Rahm (66, 136) – Here comes Rahm. The Spaniard didn't really show his hand in an opening 70 but today he surged into a tie for third spot with a bogey-free lap. Made three red numbers on his front nine (2, 6 and 9) before a 3-3-3 (eagle-birdie-par) run from the 15th.
Henrik Stenson (67, 136) – Even par to the turn and then the Swede came alive, capping a hot back nine (-5) with a stunning approach to the 18th. The short walk-off birdie putt completed a 67 and nudged him up a spot to T3.
Fate of the favorites
Jon Rahm See above
Justin Thomas (69, 138) – A second straight 69. Could have been better, could have been worse. Found water at the last from an awkward lie but limited the damage after draining a 20-foot bogey putt. Prior to that, a bogey at 4 before a burst of five birdies in seven holes from the 9th.
Patrick Cantlay (74, 146) – Out in 39 today to drop to +5 for the week before a birdie at 11 and eagle-2 on the short par-4 14th. Still, he finds himself 16th out of 18 and out of touch. Few expected that going into this week.
Tiger Woods (66, 138) – After a double and four further dropped shots in his opening 72, Tiger delivered the first bogey-free round of the week today. Slow to start (nine pars and a birdie in his first ten holes), Woods hit the gas after the turn with an eagle and three more birdies
Patrick Reed (66): "You have to play for fairways around here. You have to hit quality iron shots."
Tiger Woods (66): "I just want to keep creeping my way up. I didn't really do anything poorly today. I drove it well, I did miss some greens early but I missed them all in the correct spots, except for number two, that was a bad leave. But other than that, left myself easy uphill chips and shots that I felt like I could be aggressive and try and make. Didn't make anything today but at least I had those opportunities."
Road to victory at Albany
Notes: Two of the last three winners - Rahm and Matsuyama - had a share of the 36-hole lead but Fowler came from five back to win in 2017. Bubba was one adrift at the midpoint when winning the inaugural edition at Albany in 2015.
Fate of the 36-hole leaders at Albany – where did they finish?
Notes: Only one player has held the outright lead at halfway. That was Charley Hoffman two years ago when he had an identical three-shot lead to Reed's. Hoffman finished runner-up.
Focus on - Patrick Reed with the lead
The last time Reed led at the midpoint? That would be the 2018 Masters which he went on to win. There are three other occasions on which he's had an outright lead over the field at halfway and Reed has gone on to win them all. He converted two-shot leads at the 2014 Humana Challenge and The Barclays in 2016 while he led by one after 36 holes in the 2013 Wyndham Championship and turned that into his first PGA Tour success. With a share of the halfway lead he's a more realistic 1-for-4 but it's certainly ominous for the rest that Reed's history as a front-runner (4-for-4 with the outright 36-hole lead) says, from this position, he gets it done.
Focus on - Albany's five Par 5s
"With that driver in his hand and five par 5s, he has a little bit of an advantage," said Tiger of Gary Woodland after the tournament host chatted with press after round two. With an extra long hole, gamers certainly tuned into the Par 5 angle this week but how are the leaders playing them so far? Is Woodland crushing them?
Par 5 Performance after 36 holes:
Woodland is actually underperforming on the par 5s so far, playing the 10 combined long holes in just -3. However, Reed has been excellent on them (-8, five shots better than Woodland) and that's a big reason why he'll take a healthy lead into the weekend.