Rory McIlroy seven off pace after two-under-par 68 in Northern Trust second round

Rory McIlroy
FedEx Cup holder Rory McIlroy is 43rd in this year's standings

Rory McIlroy lies seven shots off the lead in a tie for 47th place after the second round of the Northern Trust Open at Old Westbury in New York.

The Northern Irishman, 28, posted a second round of two-under-par 68 to add to his opening 73 to move to one over.

McIlroy carded three birdies and a bogey at the Glen Oaks Country Club.

Four players are tied for the lead at the halfway point on six under - Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jhonattan Vegas.

Spieth and Venezuelan Vegas fired second rounds of five-under 65 on Friday, with Fowler signing for a 66 and Johnson shooting a 69.

Matt Kuchar (64) and Bubba Watson (68) are one shot behind the leading quartet.

The tournament is the first of four held over a five-week period which McIlroy intends to play in a bid to retain his FedEx Cup title.

He will also compete in the Dunhill Links event in Scotland.

After that, the four-time major winner has indicated that he will take an extended break to aid his recovery from a rib injury.

The FedEx Cup play-offs begin with the Northern Trust and, with McIlroy lying 43rd in the standings, he will need to move into the top 30 in order to earn entry to the concluding Tour Championship.

He won the second play-offs event in 2016 before clinching a £7.8m bonus as he topped the FedEx Cup standings after triumphing at the Tour Championship.

After this week's tournament, the play-offs continue with next week's Dell Technologies Championship in Boston.

After a week's break, the series resumes with the BMW Championship in Illinois before the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Henley leads compatriot and world number one Dustin Johnson by a stroke with Americans Scott Brown and Chris Kirk plus Camilo Villegas of Colombia two shots off the pace.

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