Jordan Spieth tied for lead after birdie binge in Round 2 of Northern Trust

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jordan Spieth tied for lead after birdie binge in Round 2 of Northern Trust

PGA Tour

Jordan Spieth tied for lead after birdie binge in Round 2 of Northern Trust

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – Traditionally during the last days of August, well-heeled New Yorkers head out to the Hamptons, a glitzy region about 100 miles east of midtown, to enjoy the gorgeous beaches, spectacular golf courses and the last outdoor cocktail parties before autumn arrives.

But you won’t catch Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler or Jordan Spieth out there this weekend – they share the lead with Jhonattan Vegas after 36 holes at the Northern Trust at 6-under par.

After Johnson posted a 69 and Fowler carded a 66 in the morning wave, Spieth created the tournament’s biggest buzz by making five consecutive birdies en route to shooting a back-nine 30 in the late afternoon. The reigning British Open champion wound up signing for 65 and walked into the media area with his shoulders back, chest out and with renewed confidence in his putting.

“I got a couple putts to go. The one on 10 (from 10 feet away) went in and I dialed that speed in perfectly on a very difficult putt,” Spieth said. “Unfortunately I’ve been a little streaky with my putter this year. You’d like to be a little more consistently-solid, but when it’s been going good, I can feel the speed and see the lines a lot better and that started to happen.” 

About three hours before his tee time, Spieth was on the practice green, grinding away to find the perfect setup.

“I’ve been trying to figure out my alignment for a while and I just kind of threw it out the window,” he explained. “I said, we’re just going to go speed. If you pull it, push it, so be it. Just try and feel putts out here. It made a big difference on my speed control on the greens.” 

The proof came during his back-nine run when Spieth holed a birdie putt at 11 from 9 feet, then a 22-footer for birdie on 12, another 9-footer on 13 and a 7-foot putt on 14. 

Spieth made a bogey on 15 after missing the green on the par 3 to the right, but rebounded by making a 41-foot birdie putt on the uphill No. 16, a hole that yielded just 14 birdies to the 120-player field all day. 

“I saw Hideki (Matsuyama’s) come down the line, so I knew it was around left edge and just needed to put the right speed on it,” Spieth said. “That’s all I was trying to do.  The fact it dropped was, like I said, a bonus. You don’t expect those to go in.” 

The low-round of the day was posted by Matt Kuchar, a 64 that leaves him one shot behind the leaders heading into the weekend.

“I think you’re seeing some guys shoot some pretty high scores because the course is tough,” Kuchar said. “But good golf is rewarded out here and I’ve been pretty pleased with the way I’m hitting it, pleased with the way I’m putting it, and it kind of all clicked the second half of my round today.”

Matsuyama did not shoot a high score, but when he missed a 5’9″ putt at 18 playing alongside Spieth, it left him at 3-over par and one shot above the cut line. As a result, the top-ranked player on the FedEx Cup point list gets the weekend off and is currently projected to fall to sixth in the points race. 

Other notable players who missed the cut include Zach Johnson (+3), J.B. Holmes (+5) and Gary Woodland (+6).

Among the players who not only missed the cut but who are also projected to now finish over No. 100 in the FedEx Cup point list, and therefore not qualify for next week’s playoff event at TPC Boston, are Jimmy Walker, Luke Donald and Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home