Rory McIlroy gave a detailed explanation of what he is struggling to do with his golf swing after Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa pulled clear at the season-ending Tour Championship.
Hovland birdied five of his last seven holes at East Lake to reach 16-under in Atlanta after 36 holes.
The Norwegian, who won the BMW Championship last week, posted a second round 6-under 64 to back up his opening 68.
World No.1 Scottie Scheffler reacted to his off-colour opening 71 that included a disastrous triple bogey with a bogey-free 65 and is two back of the lead.
Morikawa was in supreme form on day one and followed his 61 with a second round of 64 to join Hovland at the summit.
McIlroy was six shots behind the lead after 36 holes but is struggling with a lower back injury.
His back went into spasm when he stretched earlier in the week and at one point he claimed he couldn't even address the golf ball.
Once again he looked in visible discomfort, barely being able to hold onto the golf club on completion of his swing.
But he will be buoyed by a 3-under 67 to reach 10-under.
McIlroy claimed he is not risking injury and he would rather it pop up now instead of in a few weeks' time before the Ryder Cup.
He said withdrawing at any point was not on his mind. He is chasing his fourth FedEx Cup title.
The Northern Irishman will take one week off after the Tour Championship before heading back to the UK to play the Irish Open and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
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