Rory McIlroy improves as Matt Kuchar leads The Barclays by two

Rory McIlroy completes his second round early on Saturday

Rory McIlroy carded eight birdies in a six-under-par 65 to move five shots off the pace at the halfway stage of The Barclays event in New Jersey.

The world number three was one of 39 players who had to complete round two on Saturday after rain on Thursday.

World number one Tiger Woods is also six under after a 69, with Matt Kuchar leading by two at 11 under after a 65.

Brian Davis, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera were among those to miss the cut.

The Barclays at the Liberty National Golf Club is the first event of the end-of-season FedEx Cup play-offs on the PGA Tour.

The top 125 players on the list qualified for the tournament and the leading 100 players on the points list after Sunday's final round will advance to next week's event, the Deutsche Bank Classic in Boston.

From there the top 70 will play in the BMW Championship in Illinois and then the top 30 will compete for the top prize of $10m in the concluding Tour Championship in Atlanta from 19-22 September.

McIlroy, whose victory in last year's BMW Championship remains his most recent on the PGA Tour, has yet to win in 2013 and had three double bogeys in a mixed opening round of 71.

But he made an excellent start to round two with five birdies in his first eight holes and when he played the final two holes of his round on Saturday morning he added another birdie at the 18th.

US Open champion Justin Rose is also in the group at six under having collected four birdies in five holes on his front nine on Friday before two bogeys in the four holes he had to complete on Saturday morning.

Kuchar, 35, who has won the WGC World Match Play and the Memorial tournaments this year, had five holes of his round to finish and did not make a par at any of them.

His first shot of the day was a 30-foot birdie putt, he followed that with a poor tee shot that led to bogey, before two short birdie putts and another wayward drive on the 18th for a bogey.

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