Padraig Harrington looked to have scuppered his slim Ryder Cup hopes after plummeting down the leaderboard at The Barclays in Farmingdale.
A day after he surged to the front of the field with a terrific seven-under 64, Harrington followed up with a four-over-par 75 and dropped into a share of 16th place, five shots off the eight-under pace set by Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia.
Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal suggested on Thursday that even a victory for Harrington at the tournament might not be enough to earn him a wild card, when the team is announced on Monday.
The Irishman would have given Olazabal at least food for thought had he triumphed, but it will take a superb performance over the weekend now to rise back to the top.
There are big guns including the likes of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh between Harrington and the front-running duo.
Harrington began his second round on the back nine and was five over par for his round by the halfway stage, with a birdie at the long seventh – his 16th hole – the only shot he picked up all day.
Watney shot 69 while Garcia followed an opening 66 with a 68, and the Spaniard who won last week’s Wyndham Championships is booked in for Ryder Cup duty at Medinah next month.
World number one Rory McIlroy drifted back to level par after a two-over 73, and that left him alongside Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald who both went round in 74.