Steve Stricker led the second round charge in the The Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club with Hunter Mahan sitting on a four-stroke overnight lead.
Mahan, an American Ryder Cup hopeful, had laid down his marker for the first of four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments by blasting a nine-under-par 62 opening round at the New Jersey course, four shots better than second-placed Paul Casey of England.
One stroke further back were five players on four under – Americans Dudley Hart, Charley Hoffman, Bo Van Pelt and Kevin Streelman and Australia’s Matt Goggin, while one three under was a group including defending champion Stricker, Adam Scott of Australia, Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Swedish veteran Jesper Parnevik.
Mahan was not due out for his second round until the afternoon, leaving the early starters with the opportunity to make inroads into his lead and Stricker was eager to give chase.
The American, who won the 2007 event at Westchester Country Club, holed a birdie at the par-three second hole, and then eagled the par-five third, chipping in from 67 yards form the fairway.
Stricker then closed to within two shots of Mahan with a birdie at the fifth hole and having played seven holes of his second round was at seven under par.
Hart also improved his position, with birdies at the fourth and eighth holes before a bogey five at the ninth kept him at five under after 10 holes.
Another American making an early move up the leaderboard was Jason Bolli, who began the day at level par but was four under at the turn in a bogey-free front nine.
Bolli’s progress was halted with a bogey at the 11th, sending him back to three under.
Australia’s Stuart Appleby also got hot on the front nine with a hat-trick of birdies at the fourth, fifth and sixth holes to move to three under.
Sergio Garcia, starting on the 10th tee, bounced back from a bogey at his second hole with birdies at the third and fourth and was at two under after seven holes.