World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson managed to stay within sight Friday of AT&T Byron Nelson record-setting leader Jason Kokrak, while hometown star Jordan Spieth has an unexpected free weekend after missing the cut.
Spieth shot a 75 Friday and his 36-hole score of 143 missed the cut by a stroke. He made a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 16th hole, and followed that with missed 14-foot birdie attempts on 17 on 18.
“Had two really good looks in the last two and missed one to the right and one to the left, and pretty disappointed at this point in time,” Spieth said.
Kokrak, a native of Ontario, Canada, who has never won on the PGA Tour, is at 12-under 128 after Friday’s 62. His five-shot lead over Billy Horschel is a Nelson record for 36 holes. Johnson and five others are six shots back.
“I played the front-9 pretty well this week,” said Kokrak, who has shot 4-under 31s on the front nine both days. “I gave myself a lot of opportunities, more than I did yesterday, and I capitalized where I could.
“I mean it’s 36 holes. You got the No. 1 player in the world chasing you, you got X number of other players that are outstanding players that they’re all chasing me.”
Kokrak, who lives in Warren, Ohio, is ranked No. 128 in world and is making his 146th Tour start.
“Well, I thought about it, yeah, everybody wants to win on the PGA Tour,” said Kokrak, who turns 32 on Monday. “I’m more than happy doing what I’m doing but, yeah, I would like to get that first win.”
Johnson stayed in contention with his second-straight 67. A bogey on his final hole kept Johnson out of a second-place tie with Horschel.
“You know, another just solid round,” Johnson said. “I felt like I played pretty well.”
For Spieth, whose 2010 and 2011 appearances were as an amateur from Dallas Jesuit High School, Friday’s round included five bogeys and four birdies through 12 holes. Three pars followed that, then disaster struck at No. 16.
Two tee shots went out-of-bounds to the right, into homes. Then a third tee shot – his fifth stroke on the hole – also missed the fairway, but at least was playable from the right rough.
“I’ve hit in those houses before I think a couple times,” Spieth said. “They come in quickly, the wind flipped from being straight in to quartering off the left and I didn’t adjust. That made the difference, obviously being out of play.”
Next up for Spieth is the Dean & DeLuca Invitational next week at Colonial, where he’s the defending champion.
“Yeah. I like the golf course a lot at Colonial,” Spieth said. “We’ve won and almost won a couple other times. I’ll put in some work this weekend and get over there early and put the right prep in to get ready.”
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