SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND | With Jordan Spieth, it seems there’s always another highlight.
When Spieth is on – and through 36 holes of the Open Championship at weather-stained Royal Birkdale he has been locked in – he seems to play golf the way lightning plays with the night sky.
Crackling. Sudden. Spectacular.
Spieth wasn’t close to perfect in the imperfect conditions Friday at Birkdale but he again demonstrated his knack for getting the ball in the hole. That’s the object of the game, obviously, but Spieth has a way of almost willing things to happen.
He couldn’t will away the wind, though it did subside a bit in the late afternoon, and he and caddie Michael Greller wrestled the soaking rain to a draw. Despite all the challenges, Spieth stayed on point.
Watching early play in the second round from where he was staying, Spieth knew he was likely to get the worst of the conditions. He imagined an even-par 70 would be like shooting 62.
“I would have gladly stayed on the couch for even par and I’d still be there,” Spieth said.
It would have cost him a stroke since he “grinded out” a 1-under-par 69.
Just when it seemed his second round could be slipping his grasp after two front-nine bogeys, Spieth grabbed it back with one swing. His ball was behind and just off the 10th green and Spieth was staring at a dangerous pitch shot over a slope, needing to get up and down to salvage another bogey.
And he holed it because that’s what Spieth seems to do.
“Massive,” Spieth said of his magic.
Among his many strengths, few may be greater than his ability to pull off a critical shot when the moment demands it.
Danger averted, Spieth then birdied the 11th and 12th holes, bogeyed the 13th and responded by holing a long eagle putt (watch below) at the par-5 15th hole – admittedly after his second shot rolled about 100 yards following a mis-hit.
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 21, 2017
“We got away with one there,” Spieth said.
In a relative flash, he had a three-stroke lead.
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He finished two rounds at 6 under and leads Matt Kuchar by two strokes. As the weekend arrives Spieth owns the attention of this championship. There are other intriguing names nearby – Ian Poulter, Brooks Koepka and the resurgent Rory McIlroy are the most magnetic – but it starts with Spieth, the betting favorite when this Open started.
The question is will it end the same way.