Lemont: Charlie Wi carded a two-under-par 69 to share the BMW Championship second round lead with Matt Kuchar on Friday but squandered a chance to have the top of the leaderboard to himself with a late triple-bogey.
Cruising through an unblemished back nine with three birdies, the South Korean’s round went from brilliant to ordinary in a hurry with the seven at the par-four 16th.
Wi hit back with another birdie at the 17th to reach the midway point at six-under 136 and remain on track for what would be a maiden career U.S. PGA Tour title.
It was a missed opportunity for Wi to overhaul ailing FedEx Cup leader Kuchar, who was barely able to make it around the Cog Hill layout because of illness and laboured to a one-over 72.
“It was one of the worst feeling days I had out here,” Kuchar said after his round. “It was a struggle, fortunately I learned young you never quit.
“To post a one-over I was really happy and I’m really excited about getting home and into bed. I saw a doctor and they didn’t have much to say whether it was bacterial or viral. I’m sick.”
Kuchar, who held a one-shot overnight lead, stumbled out of the gate with four bogeys on his opening six holes but was able to undo some of that damage with a grinding back nine that included a stretch of four birdies over five holes.
Heading to Celtic Manor for the Oct. 1-3 Ryder Cup, Kuchar may well be the in-form player for the United States with seven top 10s in his last 10 starts, including a win at the Barclays that helped put him firmly atop the FedEx Cup standings.
While Kuchar displayed plenty of the grit and fighting spirit that will prove valuable in Wales, U.S. captain Corey Pavin will want him fully fit.
“I was able to bounce back from a shaky start and post a reasonable score,” said Kuchar. “I just kept talking to myself, hang in there, gut it out. I was weak as could be.
“I made a few putts, made a few birdies and tried to tell myself to hang in there and kind of meander up to the ball and see if I could flip a switch for about four seconds and go back to being a zombie.”
Australian Marc Leischman moved into contention with the round of the day, firing a six-under 65 to sit just one back of the leaders on 137.
The leaderboard also featured a British invasion with European Ryder Cup team mates Ian Poulter (72) and Luke Donald (70) joining compatriot Paul Casey (69) and South African Retief Goosen (71) as well as American Dustin Johnson (70) one shot further adrift at four-under for the two rounds.
Tiger Woods’s hopes of qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship continued to dim as the world number one slipped further out of contention with a one-over 72.
For the second consecutive day, a struggling Woods failed to break par on a Cog Hill layout that he once owned and where he claimed five victories, including his last PGA Tour victory a year ago.
Woods, who posted a score of a 22-under on way to lifting the title in 2007, reached the halfway mark Friday at three-over 145.
Despite his struggles, Woods has refused to wave the white flag on his chances of the projected top five finish he would need at the BMW to qualify for the elite 30-man field at the Tour Championships, which offers a $10 million bonus to the FedEx Cup winner.
Woods will start the weekend nine shots off the lead and, more significantly, seven off the top five finish he is targeting.