Spieth shakes off rust to sizzle in second round
(Reuters) - World number two Jordan Spieth shook off the rust that cost him in the opening round as he fired a sparkling seven-under-par 64 on Friday to surge into contention at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
The Masters and U.S. Open champion, playing his first PGA Tour event in three weeks, mixed an eagle at the par-five second with six birdies and a lone bogey to finish the second round at seven-under 135, five strokes off the pace.
Long-hitting Justin Thomas, co-leader overnight, fired a five-birdie 67 at the TPC Deere Run to take over on his own at the top, with fellow Americans Johnson Wagner (63) and Tom Gillis (65) a further stroke back at 11 under.
Spieth, who took time off after his U.S. Open win at Chambers Bay last month, was delighted to rebound from an opening 71 where his short game was especially rusty.
"Today was a big step forward," said the 21-year-old, who is using the tournament to tune up for next week's British Open where he will aim to add the third leg of a grand slam of the majors.
"I was not feeling great after Wednesday (the pro-am), and then after yesterday ... but to come out today and shoot a solid round when I know I needed to and to have my putter working when I knew I needed it to gives me a lot of confidence.
"I putted about as well today as I have the past couple months," said Spieth, who totaled just 25 putts in the second round. "Ultimately this was a big day for me in my preparation for next week."
Some have questioned the plan by Spieth to arrive at St. Andrews just three days before the start of the British Open but the American is happy with his preparations for the year's third major.
"I got a good amount of practice in and I'll be able to adjust to the speed and the conditions there," he said. "I feel like I'll be able to do that in a couple days. Continued...