ATLANTA — Jim Furyk, the only American on the Ryder Cup team without a win this year, put himself in position Friday to join them.
Furyk made seven birdies through 10 holes at East Lake — including seven 3s to start the round — until he missed a few greens on the back nine that slowed his momentum. He wound up with a 6-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead over Justin Rose going into the weekend at the Tour Championship.
As for anyone questioning whether Furyk should have been a pick for the Ryder Cup?
He was more bothered by missing a 5-foot par putt on the 18th hole than what anyone thinks about his game or being in the Ryder Cup for the eighth straight time. With 16 wins, including a U.S. Open, and having qualified for every U.S. team since 1997, Furyk stopped believing he had to prove himself a long time ago.
All he cares about is winning the Tour Championship, with an outside shot at the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus. Furyk was at 7-under 133 on a course where he won just two years ago.
Rose, who shared the 18-hole lead with Tiger Woods, made four birdies on the back nine and holed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 68.
Woods went the other direction.
He was right in the mix when he made the turn, despite a double bogey on the eighth hole, But a series of bad swings that put him in bad positions led to four bogeys on the back nine, and Woods had a 73. It was his worst score at East Lake in 14 years, dating to a 76 in the second round in 1998. He was six strokes behind.
Rory McIlroy, who is leading the FedEx Cup after winning the last two events, made an eagle on the 15th that turned around his fortunes. He had a 68 and was only four shots behind.
Furyk hasn't won since he turned his cap around in the rain, saved par from a bunker and won the Tour Championship in 2010, along with the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus. He lost in a four-man playoff at Innisbrook. He was tied for the lead at the U.S. Open with three holes to play — two of them par 5s — until he hooked his tee shot into the trees and made bogey on the 16th. And he led at Firestone from the opening round until chopping up the final hole for a double bogey to lose by one.
LPGA: At Prattville, Ala., defending champion Lexi Thompson shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead into weekend play in the Navistar LPGA Classic.
The 17-year-old Thompson had a 12-under 132 total on the links-style Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Capitol Hill complex. She matched the tournament record Thursday with a career-best 63.
Last year, Thompson became the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history at age 16, winning by five strokes. Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko broke the record last month in the Canadian Women's Open.
Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke, shooting a 73 to finish at even par.