Rain No Match for Open Leader Spieth
The rain came, the wind howled, and Jordan Spieth played straight through it all.
The American who is looking to win his third Major just a few days before his 24th birthday shot a second-round 69 to reach 6-under for the tournament, giving him a two-stroke lead over fellow American Matt Kuchar.
Spieth overcame four bogeys with a trio of birdies and a gut-check eagle on No. 15. Kuchar was tied for the lead through 15 holes, then bogeyed both 16 and 18 to fall a stroke back.
Halfway through the third Major of the year, only nine players are under par. Three of those nine have won a Major before – Spieth, Brooks Kopeka, who won the US Open a month ago, and Rory McIlroy, who has four career Majors already to his name.
Koepka shot a 2-over 72 to fall into a tie for third with Ian Poulter, who finished second the last time the Open as at Royal Birkdale. As popular as Spieth and McIlroy are, the sentiment was seen swaying heavily towards Poulter, who hasn’t won a tournament since 2012 and has never taken a Major.
Poulter shot a 70 to tread water at 3-under. He had 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey on the day. Scotland’s Richie Ramsay is alone in fifth after shooting a 70 to stay at 2-under.
There’s a four-way tie at 1-under for sixth that includes McIlroy, who shot a 68, tying for the second-best round of the day. He started the day white-hot, with three birdies in his first six holes, but gave two strokes back at 13 and 15. Also tied for sixth at England’s Richard Bland, the US’ Gary Woodland, and Canada’s Albert Connelly.
The best round of the game came from American Zach Johnson, who recorded five birdies against a single bogey to end with a 4-under 66. The round moved him up 22 slots to 20th at 1-over mitigating his opening-round 75.
The cut was set at 5-over, with 78 players advancing to Saturday. Among the notables to slip in under the wire at +5 included: Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, and Jason Day.
Defending champion Henrik Stenson shot a 73 and is tied for 24th at 2-over. Current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson is tied for 35th at 3-over along with Jon Rahm and former No. 1 Adam Scott.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler are among those tied with Stenson at 2-over.
Notables on the wrong side of the cut include two-time Open winner Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson and John Deere Classic winner Bryson DeChambeau.
Huge ups to 59-year-old Mark O’Meara, who rebounded from his ugly 81 on Thursday to shoot an even-par 70, tied for the best record of all players who missed the cut.