Evidently, Heath Slocum is not going to give up his Barclays title without a fight.
Slocum, the surprise winner last year at Liberty National, has made the turn in Friday’s second round and is now 6 under for the tournament.
Slocum is 2 under thus far for Friday’s round after shooting a 4-under 67 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, defending FedExCup champion Tiger Woods has hit the wall on his back nine.
Woods suffered three bogeys in a five-hole stretch and is now 1 over for his round and 5 under for the tournament. He was tied for the first-round lead with Vaughn Taylor after shooting 65 on Thursday.
Taylor, incidentally, is even par for his round.
Here are a few notes on key players who began their second rounds in the afternoon:
TIGER WOODS: Has yet to rank better than 100th in his 20 weeks ranked in the 2010 FedExCup standings. He moved to 100th (best rank of season) after a T4 at the U.S. Open but has since fallen back to 112th. Woods, the first-round co-leader after an opening 65, could potentially crack the top 30 this week with a fourth or better finish at week's end. In order for Tiger to advance to the top 100, he’ll likely need to finish between 50th and 57th.
VAUGHN TAYLOR: Has not ranked worse than 74th in the standings in the 33 weeks of the regular season on the strength of five top-10s. Taylor, the first-round co-leader after a 6-under 65, is looking to make THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola for the first time in the FedExCup era. His previous best finish in the standings was 63rd at the end of the inaugural FedExCup season in 2007.
RYAN PALMER: One of six players to have held the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings at any point during the 2010 regular season (weeks 2-3). After ranking inside the top 30 for the first 21 weeks of the regular season, Palmer fell outside after missing five consecutive cuts. However, Palmer righted the ship with a runner-up at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, moving back inside the top 30 entering the PLAYOFFS.
BRIAN GAY: Currently ranked 51st in the standings, Gay is looking to make THE TOUR Championship for the second consecutive season. Last year, Gay finished 21st in the standings. He has not ranked worse than 63rd in any week during the regular season (all 33 weeks inside top 70).
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Currently ranked 15th in the standings, Villegas is one of five players with two or more victories in the Playoffs. Villegas is also tied with Steve Stricker for most top 10s in the Playoffs (each have seven). In 2008, his best showing in the FedExCup, Villegas vaulted 40 spots in the standings during the Playoffs thanks to his back-to-back wins at the BWM Championship and THE TOUR Championship.
MATT KUCHAR: Currently 9th, Matt Kuchar is the second-highest ranked player on TOUR without a win this year (behind Jeff Overton). Kuchar has a TOUR-leading and career-best nine top 10s in his 21 starts of the 2010 regular season. Kuchar has not ranked worse than 12th in the standings in the 33 weeks of the regular season.
Although a couple of players threatened to wrest it away, Tiger Woods and Vaughn Taylor will take the lead into the second round of The Barclays.
The world No. 1 played more like the player we’re used to seeing at the top of the leaderboard in posting a 65 that was soon equaled by Taylor.
“It's exciting to hit the ball flush like this again," Woods said. "It's something I've been missing all year.”
Ryan Palmer, Brian Gay and Adam Scott are one stroke back while there are 14 players tied at 4 under. A total of 57 players in the field of 122 broke par on Thursday while another 15 matched it as players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls.
Two years ago, Vaughn Taylor failed to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
A year ago, he did make the Playoffs but his stay was short, bowing out after The Barclays.
But this year, he enters the Playoffs ranked 38th in FedExCup points, thanks to five top-10 finishes, his most since 2006. He's got his TOUR card locked up for next year, so the pressure's off. His approach to the Playoffs is simple -- it's a fresh start.
On Thursday, that fresh start translated into an opening-round 6-under 65 at The Barclays to give him a share of the early lead.
"It' just kind of gravy from here on out," Taylor said. "Obviously want to finish as high as I can on the FedEx and the money list to get in all the majors next year and things of that nature. So it's pressure off, but also a little bit of pressure to reach your goals."
Of those five top-10 finishes this year, his most recent was a sixth-place at the John Deere Classic. But instead of building on that momentum, he let it evaporate with a tie for 35th at the Reno-Tahoe Open, a tie for 66th at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, then a missed cut at the PGA Championship. He was in such a rut that he even changed caddies just to switch things up.
"I had a nice stretch there for about a month and went out to Reno and just struggled with the altitude," Taylor said. "Just couldn't figure out how far the ball was going."
Taylor was then reminded that his two career wins have been at the Reno-Tahoe Open, in 2004 and 2005. So how could he not figure out the altitude?
"I know," he smiled. "I can't figure it out the last two years. Just clueless. I don't know. ... Maybe I got lucky two years."
But he certainly figured out Ridgewood. After an early bogey at the par-5 third hole, he immediately responded by draining a putt of 25 feet, 4 inches for birdie on the fourth, and that jump-started his round. He went bogey-free the rest of the way, and had a five-hole stretch on the back nine in which he posted four birdies -- three of them with putts outside 10 feet.
Taylor said he certainly didn't expect a 65 when he started the day.
"I've been struggling a little bit lately," he said. "Just haven't been hitting it very solid. Not playing bad, but my putter has been a little sketchy, too. Did some good work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and felt like I was on the right track.
"It was good to get out there and get some confidence going."
VAUGHN TAYLOR: FIRST-ROUND STATISTICS
|Driving distance||Fairways hit||Greens in regulation||Sand saves||Putts needed|
|266.0 yards||10 of 14||15 of 18||0 of 1||27|
Vaughn Taylor has matched Tiger Woods with his own 6-under 65 in Thursday’s first round and is now tied for the clubhouse lead.
After an early bogey at the par-5 third hole, Taylor immediately responded with consecutive birdies and added another one to make the turn at 2-under 33.
He then found the hot hand at the par-5 13th, reeling off four birdies in a five-hole span.
Taylor hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation on Thursday.
Since finishing sixth at the John Deere Classic, Taylor had managed just one round in the 60s in his last three starts, and entered The Barclays having missed the cut in his previous start, the PGA Championship.
Former PGA Champion Shaun Micheel and Vaughn Taylor are putting their Saturdays to good use, charging up the leaderboard.
Taylor hit 16 greens in regulation for the second day in a row, rolling home seven birdies, en route to a 7-under 64.
After a 30 on the front 9, Micheel is continuing his assault on TPC Deere Run on the back nine. Through 12 holes, he has six birdies, five pars and just 18 putts.
Jason Day had gone from 6-under to 11-under on the back nine today, but gave a shot back on 18 when his shot found the bunker. He’s in the clubhouse at 10-under, currently tied for 13 th.