Here is a recap of the second round of the British Open, played at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England:
LEADING: Jordan Spieth fires a 1-under 69 in tough (rainy, windy) conditions to move from co-leader to two shots ahead at 6 under. Spieth started out hot with a birdie at No. 1 but was basically fighting the rest of the way. Bogeys at Nos. 3 and 9 pushed him back to 4 under and the co-lead. Spieth then went on an insane three-hole stretch: Chip-in for par at No. 10, 25-footer for birdie No. 11, stuffed tee shot to 2 feet for another birdie at No. 12. There was a 15-minute delay amidst this stretch due to heavy rain, but that probably helped Spieth, if anything.
Suddenly he was 6 under and two ahead. A bogey at 14 followed, but Spieth then made a lucky eagle at 15 after his “neck-thin mishit” for his second shot rolled up to 20 feet and he made the putt. At that point he was 7 under and had a three-shot lead. A short miss at 16 meant a sour late bogey, but it was overall a great round. Spieth’s last start was a victory at the Travelers Championship. This is his last major before his 24th birthday. As it stands, it looks like major No. 3 could be coming at age 23.
CHASING: Matt Kuchar, an 18-hole co-leader, put together a 1-over 71 early to post the clubhouse target at 4 under. It ended up getting him in second place, two back. Brooks Koepka, another 18-hole co-leader, shot 72 to find himself T-3 alongside Ian Poulter (70). Richie Ramsay (70) is solo fifth at 2 under. Rory McIlroy continued his climb back from an early hole, posting a 68 to rocket from a tie for 58th to a tie for sixth at 1 under. He’s there alongside Austin Connelly, a world traveler, Gary Woodland and Richard Bland.
SHOT OF THE DAY: Even though Spieth is in the lead and had an eagle at the par-5 15th set up by an excellent approach, well … it was a lucky shot.
Instead then, we have to go with this perfect strike from Chris Wood. With the possibility of needing birdie at 18 to make the cut, Wood erased all doubts by holing his second shot for eagle.
QUOTABLE: “I wasn’t going to have much trouble with that club, but I mishit it and got very fortunate to scoot that last bunker. It was definitely a good break.” – Spieth, on his second shot to the 15th
SHORT SHOTS: Bubba Watson had a wild day but is T-10 at even par. … Zach Johnson posted a 4-under 66 for the day’s best round by two shots. He jumped 100 spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 21st at 1 over. … Rickie Fowler is tied for 24th at 2 over after a second straight 71. Defending champion Henrik Stenson, dealing with a burglary at his rental home, is also 2 over. … World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is tied for 35th at 3 over. … Alfie Plant (T-45, 4 over) is the only amateur to make the cut, which means he’ll earn low amateur honors. … Hometown boy Tommy Fleetwood shoots 69 to jump up 72 spots and make the cut on the number at 5 over. Jason Day shoots 76 but also makes the cut on the number. … Padraig Harrington, the 2008 champ at Birkdale, missed the cut by one. Justin Thomas shoots 80, with a crazy quintuple bogey, to miss out by two.
UP NEXT: Golf Channel will air third-round coverage from 4:30-7 a.m. Eastern before turning it over to NBC for a 7 a.m.-3 p.m. stretch. All our coverage from Royal Birkdale can be found right here. Also go to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the action during the championship.