NORTON, Mass. — Russell Henley doesn't get into contention as much as he'd like, though he is tough to beat when he's anywhere near the lead.
Rory McIlroy seems to be there all the time.
They were among a host of contenders Sunday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, setting up the second straight week in the FedEx Cup playoffs that the final round resembles more like a free-for-all.
The difference at the TPC Boston is the presence of McIlroy so high on the leaderboard.
Henley ran off five birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn on his way to a 6-under 65, giving him a one-shot lead over Billy Horschel going into a Labor Day finish loaded with possibilities.
Ten players were separated by four shots. Six of them already have won on the PGA Tour this season.
And one of them — McIlroy — has won the biggest events.
McIlroy was dialed in with his swing and shot a 7-under 64 to get within two shots of the lead. He played with Chris Kirk, who also shot a 64 with birdies on his last two holes — a chip-in for birdie on a shot that would have gone 10 feet by the hole had it not banged into the pin, and an eagle putt that stopped an inch short on the 18th.
"I've been in this position quite a lot recently," McIlroy said. "So I know how it's going to feel tomorrow."
Henley was at 12-under 201. He will play in the final group with Horschel, who birdied his last three holes for a 67.
Henley can look as good as anyone, and then he can disappear. He won the Sony Open last year in his first PGA Tour event as a rookie last year, and never seriously contended again. He won the Honda Classic in March in a four-man playoff that included McIlroy, and since then has missed eight cuts and has only two finishes in the top 20.
"I think I'm just still figuring it all out," Henley said. "I feel like I've been working really hard on my ball-striking to keep the ball more in front of me. I always feel pretty good with my putter. The other thing I have to work on is my attitude, and not be so hard on myself."
Jason Day, who started Sunday tied with Ryan Palmer, reached 12 under with a short birdie putt on the 13th hole. But he missed a short par putt on the 14th and hooked his tee shot into high grass and had to pitch out, leading to another bogey on the 15th. Day also failed to birdie the par-5 18th and shot 69.
Palmer took bogey on two of the par 5s and shot 71 to fall four shots behind.
McIlroy won the British Open, a World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship to assert himself at No. 1 in the world. He is coming off a pedestrian week at The Barclays — at least by his standards — where he started with a 74 and could never catch up.
So a round like 64 didn't surprise him.
"It feels normal," McIlroy said. "It feels like it's what I'm supposed to do. It's my job to go out there and shoot good scores. I'm not getting too excited about it. I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow if I want to win this tournament."
Henley is one round away at securing his spot in the Tour Championship, and perhaps giving U.S. captain Tom Watson one more person to consider for a Ryder Cup picks. But that one round seems far away considering the leaderboard, especially with McIlroy.
|Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson||7||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm||8|
|Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer||3||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Shields||2|
|Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams||3||FINAL|
|Oakland - LP: D. Otero||0|
|Toronto - WP: M. Stroman||6||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano||3|
|Arizona - LP: T. Cahill||1||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: E. Butler||5|
|Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa||2||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman||7|
|Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke||1||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon||0|
|Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann||3||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: J. Cosart||2|
|NY Mets - WP: J. Niese||4||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: M. Minor||2|
|Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi||1||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer||3|
|Cleveland - WP: T. House||7||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: T. May||3|
|Seattle - LP: C. Young||1||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: D. Keuchel||10|
|Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake||4||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: J. Motte||8|
|San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit||2||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: A. Cashner||3|
|Texas - LP: C. Lewis||5||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver||8|
|San Diego||12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||3:05 PM|
|Kansas City||3:25 PM|
|Chicago||9/22/14 7:30 PM|
|NY Giants||9/25/14 7:25 PM|
|(11) Michigan State||73|
|(6) Texas A&M||58||FINAL|
|San Jose St||7||FINAL|
|(14) So Carolina||48||FINAL|
|New Mexico St||35|
|(1) Florida State||23|
|San Diego St||7||FINAL|
|Texas Tech||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(25) Oklahoma State|
|Appalachian St||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(12) UCLA||9/25/14 9:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Middle Tennessee||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State||9/27/14 2:00 AM|
|Duke||9/27/14 2:00 AM|
|North Carolina||9/27/14 2:00 AM|
|Texas-El Paso||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Tennessee||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Vanderbilt||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Wyoming||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(11) Michigan State|
|Northwestern||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|TCU||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Tulane||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|So Florida||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Colorado State||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Western Mich||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Maryland||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Akron||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||9/27/14 2:00 PM|
|Arkansas||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M|
|Kent State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Ky||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Minnesota||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|FIU||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Miami-Ohio||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Colorado||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Temple||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|(16) Stanford||9/27/14 3:15 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||9/27/14 5:00 PM|
|(23) Ohio State|
|Rice||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|(18) Missouri||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|(14) So Carolina|
|Boise State||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Central Mich||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Troy||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Memphis||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|(10) Ole Miss|
|Texas State||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(9) Notre Dame||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(7) Baylor||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|UNLV||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Illinois||9/27/14 8:00 PM|
|Oregon State||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|Nevada||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Red Bull New York||4|