Kuchar moves in front at Barclays

Matt Kuchar laughs as he waits to tee off on the third hole during the first round of the Barclays...

Matt Kuchar laughs as he waits to tee off on the third hole during the first round of the Barclays in Edison, N.J., on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

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, Last Updated: 9:49 PM ET

Edison, NJ -- Matt Kuchar fired a six-under 65 Friday to grab a one-stroke lead after two rounds of The Barclays.

Kuchar, who won this tournament last year at Ridgewood Country Club, finished 36 holes at 14-under-par 128.

His score of 128 set a new 36-hole record for this event when being contested on a par-71 course like it is this week at Plainfield Country Club. K.J. Choi had the old record of 130, which he set in 2007.

Dustin Johnson fired an eight-under 63 to move into second place at minus-13. He was joined there by 2008 FedEx Cup winner Vijay Singh, who carded a seven- under 64.

Jonathan Byrd posted a five-under 66 to move into fourth place at minus-11.

There was a weather delay on Thursday that pushed the completion of round one into Friday. Both the first and second rounds were finished Friday, but more weather issues are on the horizon.

As players jockeyed for position in the playoff race for the FedEx Cup, the tournament was shortened to 54 holes due to Hurricane Irene, which is expected to bring a significant amount of rain over the weekend to the east coast.

The third and final round will take place Saturday. With suspect weather in the forecast for Saturday evening, the plan is for the players to go out in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees for the final round with the hope that the round can be completed by 2:00 p.m. (et) Saturday.

In the event that storms prevent the completion of play on Saturday, the tournament will be cut down to 36 holes. If that happens, the win and money would be deemed unofficial, but the points will count. This championship was reserved for the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list and next week, the field will be reduced to the top 100.

The players outside the top 100 are most affected by the shortening of the tourney. Big names like Retief Goosen, Camilo Villegas, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington need to have good finishes to advance.

Of that group, Harrington is having the best tournament so far. He followed an opening-round 65 with a four-under 67 on Friday. The Irishman is tied for fifth place at 10-under-par 132 with Justin Rose (65), Aaron Baddeley (66) and Charley Hoffman (66).

Kuchar, who led by one after the first round was completed earlier Friday, nearly holed out for eagle on No. 12, but settled for a tap-in birdie from inside a foot. He made it two in a row with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th.

The 33-year-old, who has three PGA Tour titles, converted an eight-footer for birdie at the 15th to get to 11-under. Kuchar parred five in a row around the turn.

Kuchar drained a 13-foot birdie effort on the third and came back two holes later with a four-foot birdie putt on the par-five fifth. At the seventh, Kuchar rolled in a birdie try from six feet out to move to 14-under. He parred the final two holes to lead by one.

"It was not all that exciting today. Six-under par, no bogeys, there was nothing really of note," Kuchar said of his round. "I think they definitely made the right decision with 54 holes. The forecast just looks terrible. I think all of us are going to be excited to wrap this thing up and get out of here as quickly and safely as we can."

Johnson did most of his damage on the front nine with posted six birdies to go out in 29. He posted consecutive birdies three times on the opening nine, starting at the first, fourth and eighth.

Around the turn, Johnson's lone birdies were on the 11th and 15th. They got him within one of Kuchar, but he could only par the last three holes.

"I birdied one and two. The key out here is to get off to a good start," Johnson stated. "I had a really solid front nine, made some good putts, not any long ones, but just made some good, solid 10-, 12-footers and kept it going on the back nine."

Singh traded a birdie for a bogey from the 12th. Starting on the 14th, he birdied six of seven holes to soar up the leaderboard. Singh got within one thanks to a birdie on No. 5, but he parred the last four holes.

The cut line fell at four-under-par 138 with 72 players moving on to the weekend. Eight players outside the top 100 on the points list -- Tom Gillis, Michael Thompson, Vaughn Taylor, Heath Slocum, Rod Pampling, Billy Mayfair, James Driscoll and Steven Bowditch -- all missed the cut and are out of the playoffs.

Stuart Appleby and Steve Flesch, who are both outside the top 100 on the points list, withdrew during the second round and were also knocked out of postseason play.

NOTES: If the third round is completed Saturday, it will mark the first 54- hole tournament since the 2009 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where Johnson was declared the winner after rain washed out Sunday's play and the course was still unplayable on Monday...The 1998 Barclays was cut to 54 holes due to weather...This is the fourth 36-hole lead for Kuchar, who failed to hold the previous three.


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