Defending champion Adam Scott made a run of four consecutive birdies and closed with a tap-in birdie to share the lead after Friday's second round of The Barclays PGA tournament.
The Australian star, who captured his first major title last year at the Masters, fired a six-under par 65 to match American Cameron Tringale atop the leaderboard halfway into the first event of the season-ending PGA playoffs.
And Scott was disappointed that he couldn't put the score even lower, lamenting his lone bogey at the third hole and two other pars on par-5 holes at Ridgewood Country Club.
"I played the par-5s in one-over today, so I could find four there for you, and missed so many 10-footers," Scott said.
Scott, who made a Sunday charge to win last year, opened with a birdie, took his bogey at the third, then responded with a run of four birdies in a row that ended with a 21-foot birdie putt at the par-3 eighth.
He also birdied the 12th and then put his approach at the 18th hole inches from the cup to set up his final birdie.
World number one Rory McIlroy, trying to become only the fifth player in PGA history to win his fourth event in a row, also fired a 65 to bounce back from an opening 74 that he blamed on his enjoyment last week of his British Open and PGA Championship wins, the third and fourth major titles of his career.
"I felt like my game is in pretty good shape," McIlroy said.
"The work I did on the range really helped, got back in the rhythm and the flow of things. I knew my game was there. I just needed to think more about the chances I was giving myself."
McIlroy stood on 139 in a share of 27th, five strokes off the pace of Scott and Tringale, who has never won a PGA event.
Tringale, who began on the back nine, opened with a bogey and followed with a double bogey at 12, but responded with birdies at 13, 15, 16 and 18, then adding two more at the par-5 third and par-4 seventh.
One stroke off the pace were Americans Kevin Chappell, Brendon Todd and Jim Furyk.
Four-time major winner Ernie Els was in a pack on 136 that included Aussie Jason Day, Sweden's Henrik Stenson, Scotsman Russell Knox and Americans Bo Van Pelt and Kevin Na.