BMW Championship 2014: Sergio Garcia holds one-shot lead over Ryan Palmer but Rory McIlroy looms large after final three birdies

McIlroy lost his share of the lead but is well in the hunt heading into the weekend

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The Independent Online

Sergio Garcia shot an impressive 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the BMW Championship in Denver.

The course at Cherry Hills Village had expected to yield some low scores and - while scoring was more difficult than expected on Thursday - Garcia and Ryan Palmer both managed to go six under in their second rounds.

That left Palmer one shot behind Garcia on seven under and on course to get the high finish he needs to qualify for next week's Tour Championship and have a chance to win the FedEx Cup.

Both men will be looking over their shoulder, though, after world number one Rory McIlroy finished with three birdies in his last four holes to sit on six under alongside Billy Horschel.

The top 30 in the FedEx Cup rankings after this weekend will go to Atlanta next week where the points will be reset so every player has a chance of claiming the 10million US dollar (£6.1million) bonus.

Garcia provisionally sits second in the FedEx Cup rankings despite sitting out last week's Deutsche Bank Championship and feels his form is coming together at just the right time ahead of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

"I think the important thing is for me to keep feeling better," he told Sky Sports 4. "(US) PGA and Barclays I didn't feel great - the way I played.

"This week, I've hit some good shots but I've hit some that I don't like to hit so I want to kind of build up on this bit of momentum, hopefully throughout the weekend, and make sure that I'm where I need to be for the Ryder Cup.

"That's the important thing for me."

The Spaniard birdied the second but his round came to life on seven when, after leaving his drive in the rough just short of a bunker, he holed his 126-yard approach for eagle.

"I was just in the first cut, down-wind, 116 metres to the hole and I hit a hard lob wedge that flew a little bit and came up perfect," he said.

A bogey followed on eight but birdies on 11, 13, 16 and the last - courtesy of a breaking 12-foot putt - saw him come home in 32.

Palmer remarkably also eagled the seventh, holing his second shot from 46 yards after birdies on one and three and a bogey on five.

The American also bogeyed 10 but picked up shots on 13,14, 17 and 18 to be Garcia's nearest challenger and stay on target to play next week.

"I just brought in some confidence knowing I'm playing well," he said. "All that matters is keeping it round there so I have a chance at the weekend.

"To shoot a round like this on Friday is a great feeling."

Palmer was the only player who was not in the top 30 of the FedEx Cup rankings coming into this week to have provisionally broken into that group but there is potential for that to change with there being no cut in Colorado.

McIlroy picked up a shot on two but gave it back on five before he came to life with birdies on 15, 16 and 17.

Graham DeLaet, Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama were a shot behind McIlroy and Horschel with Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott on three under.

Current FedEx Cup leader Chris Kirk shot a level-par 70 to sit one over.

PA

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