PARAMUS, N.J. — Jason Day can’t get a straight answer from doctors on the mysterious health issues sapping away at his energy. He at least knows exactly where he stands after two rounds of The Barclays.
A tournament that once looked as though it might belong to Tiger Woods shifted late Friday to the hands of the 22-year-old Australian, who showed some of his great promise with three late birdies for a 4-under 67 and a one-shot lead.
Nine players had at least a share of the lead at some point during the second round until Day’s late surge. He was at 8-under 134, one shot clear of Kevin Streelman (63) and Vaughn Taylor (70) going into the weekend of the FedEx Cup’s first playoff event.
Woods didn’t so much lose his patience as much as his putting stroke. Part of that was playing in the afternoon on greens that became bumpy under foot traffic and a day of blazing sun, as Woods expected.
He wasn’t planning on missing a 20-inch par putt on the fifth hole, or failing to make a single birdie on the easier front nine.
“I didn’t hit it bad at all,” Woods said. “I hit it really good. As I said, I didn’t putt really well. I hit it as good as I did yesterday. If I don’t make putts, I don’t score.”
He wound up with a 73, eight shots worse than his opening round.
The good news for the world’s No. 1 player — he will stay atop the world ranking for at least another week after Phil Mickelson missed the cut, and he’s still very much in contention. Most times this year, a bad day for Woods meant an early tee time on the weekend.
Woods went to 8 under when he hit his approach to 5 feet for birdie on the 18th. Heading to the front nine, the easier of the two nines at Ridgewood, he had only 93 yards to the hole and a wedge in his hand. Woods went 40 feet long, left his first putt 6 feet short and made that to escape with par.
That set the tone for the rest of his round.
Posing over his tee shot on the par-3 second, it sailed over the green and left Woods a tough chip. As he started his swing, a photographer took a series of pictures. “Not in my swing,” Woods said as he made contact, sending it 25 feet long for his first bogey.
The real damage came on No. 5, the 291-yard hole where Woods hit driver to 15 feet in the opening round. With the pin close to the front, he would have had to take something off a driver, so he opted to lay up. The plan worked fine until Woods putted to just inside 2 feet from the fringe, then missed the par putt.
“Ball was sitting in a hole,” Woods said. “I could see it. I was trying to hit up on it and hook it like I normally do. I didn’t do it.”
Day, meanwhile, is feeling rested. He feared he would need sinus surgery until another doctor tested him and thought he might have mononucleosis. “I can’t get a straight answer,” Day said with a smile.
Mickelson followed an opening 72 with a 3-over 74 and he missed the cut by four strokes.
It was the third time this year Mickelson has missed the cut — two of them were tournaments sponsored by Barclays, one of his top endorsement deals — and the ninth time he failed in a bid to replace Woods at No. 1.