Golf

Jordan Spieth ‘still in the hunt’ with 64 on bizarre day at Byron Nelson

Volunteer workers repair a sand trap before the start of the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship Friday morning. Heavy overnight rains delayed the start of play.
Volunteer workers repair a sand trap before the start of the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship Friday morning. Heavy overnight rains delayed the start of play. AP

Jordan Spieth is getting the rock star treatment at this year’s AT&T Byron Nelson, and rightfully so.

He’s the likable Dallas kid fresh off a Masters win. At local sports bars, people aren’t asking who is leading the tournament.

Instead, the first question is: “How’s Jordan Spieth doing?”

Well, Spieth is doing just fine, and he put himself in contention going into the weekend rounds with a 5-under 64 on Friday. Spieth sits at 6-under 133 for the tournament, three shots back of the leaders.

Baylor product Jimmy Walker, Flower Mound resident Steven Bowditch and Jon Curran were the leaders in the clubhouse at 9 under when second-round play stopped at 8:40 p.m. Friday.

Play resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday for the 33 golfers still on the course. The cut will be made and the third round will follow.

“Still in the hunt,” Spieth said. “Have to put something together like 8-, 9-, 10 under this weekend. It’s possible. I made more birdies today.”

Spieth started on the back nine and got things going on No. 14, normally a challenging 406-yard par-4 that became a 104-yard par-3 after overnight showers wrecked the fairway.

Spieth stuck his tee shot, leaving himself with a tap-in birdie. He gave that stroke back, though, with a bogey on No. 15, but rolled in another birdie on No. 18.

Spieth went on to card five birdies and one bogey on the front nine, including three consecutive birdies to end his round.

On the par-5 seventh, Spieth hit his driver off the fairway to reach the green in two. He then two-putted for an easy birdie. It marked the second time Spieth used his driver off the deck this tournament, also doing it on the par-5 16th on Thursday when he made a par.

But Spieth was mostly pleased with his ball-striking game, saying most of his birdies came on short putts and tap-ins on Friday. He recalled only one mid-range putt, on No. 8.

“Normally I’m a threat in the mid-range game and not quite hitting them that close,” Spieth said. “It’s cool to see them go that close today.

“I trusted my iron game, trusted my wedge game and was able to tap those in and then to close with three birdies is fantastic. That always leaves a good taste in your mouth going into the weekend, especially when it got me back into contention.”

Spieth also had no issues with the PGA Tour changing No. 14 to a par-3 and making it a par-69 course for the day. It’s unknown whether a tournament round has ever been played on a scorecard par-69 course, although the tour knows for sure it hasn’t happened since at least 1983.

“It’s kind of nice to shoot par and shoot in the 60s,” Spieth said, smiling.

Spieth knows he’ll need a couple more rounds in the mid-60s to give himself a realistic chance to win his hometown event. He has yet to win a PGA Tour even in Texas, finishing second in the previous three stops this season at San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth.

But Spieth feels low rounds are to be had with lift, clean and place rules in effect through the green.

“The 65s, 64s are out there tomorrow in a big day,” Spieth said. “Certainly a moving day.”

Curran made a significant move Friday, posting the low round among the leaders with a 6-under 63 to go 9-under 130 for the tournament. He had an eight-birdie, two-bogey round, and is in solid position to make a run at his first career PGA Tour win.

Curran, 28, won once on the Web.com Tour last year, and fell in a playoff earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Puerto Rico Open in March.

“I think the scores are going to be pretty low,” Curran said. “You’ve got to keep the pedal to the metal. I’ve got to keep doing the same things I’m doing — hitting a lot of fairways and hitting some good 9-irons and 8-irons and couple good wedges and playing well.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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