Rory McIlroy fights back at The Barclays PGA Tour play-off event

The Barclays: Second-round leaderboard (US unless stated)

-8 C Tringale, A Scott (Aus) -7 K Chappell, B Todd, Jim Furyk -6 H Stenson (Swe), E Els (SA), B Van Pelt, R Knox (Sco), J Day (Aus), K Na Selected others: -5 P Casey (Eng) -4 G McDowell (NI), J Rose (Eng) -3 S Garcia (Spa), R McIlroy (NI), B Davis (Eng) +1 L Westwood (Eng), P Mickelson +2 Ian Poulter (Eng) +3 L Donald (Eng)

Rory McIlroy fought back from a rusty start with a second-round 65 to ease into contention in the first of the four PGA Tour play-off events.

The world number one surged to three under to trail Adam Scott and Cameron Tringale by five shots in New Jersey.

McIlroy, who opened with a 74 in The Barclays event in the aftermath of his US PGA win, hit six birdies to reignite his bid for a fourth straight win.

European Ryder Cup hopefuls Ian Poulter and Luke Donald both missed the cut.

The pair are outside the top-nine automatic qualifying spots and are likely to have to rely on a captain's wildcard to make the side for September's clash against the USA at Gleneagles.

Eight-time Cup veteran Lee Westwood is another in danger of missing out but rounds of 70 and 73 meant he made the weekend at one over.

Also one over was five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, the US PGA runner-up, whose 72 included a shot hit out of a hospitality dining area.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who occupies the final Ryder Cup qualifying spot, shot 68 to end four under alongside England's Justin Rose with countryman Paul Casey five under.

How the FedEx Cup play-offs work

The top 125 points scorers in the PGA Tour standings at the end of the regular season qualified for the play-offs

The top 100 after The Barclays go on to the Deutsche Bank Championship

The top 70 after the Deutsche Bank Championship earn places in the BMW Championship

The top 30 in the BMW Championship compete in the Tour Championship

McIlroy, 25, took some time out to enjoy the fruits of his fourth major win earlier this month but said a range session after Thursday's opening round ironed out his swing.

"The work I did on the range really helped, got back in the rhythm and the flow of things," said McIlroy, who also won the Open in July followed by the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "I knew my game was there. I just needed to think more about the chances I was giving myself."

American trio Kevin Chappell, Brendon Todd and Jim Furyk were tied third on seven under at Paramus with FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Scotland's Russell Knox, Bo Van Pelt, Jason Day and Kevin Na one stroke further adrift.

European Ryder Cup qualifying ends after next week's Italian Open before captain Paul McGinley names three wildcards on 2 September.

Automatic selection for the USA is settled with captain Tom Watson making his three wildcard picks on 3 September.

The Ryder Cup takes place at Gleneagles, Scotland, from 26-28 September.