Stenson leads by 3 over Spieth at East Lake


After heavy overnight rains, the conditions at East Lake Golf Club were soft but low scores were still hard to come by. Here is how things look at the halfway point of the Tour Championship, as Henrik Stenson remains in front with a two-time major champ hot on his heels:

Leaderboard: Henrik Stenson (-9), Jordan Spieth (-6), Paul Casey (-5), Zach Johnson (-4), Rory McIlroy (-3), Steven Bowditch (-3), Justin Rose (-2), Rickie Fowler (-1)

What it means: Stenson began the day with a two-shot lead after an opening 63, and he did enough to remain in front as he looks for his first win of the season. But the former world No. 1 lurks just off the pace, as Spieth turned in the day's best round and looks to turn the tables on any discussions of Jason Day winning the Player of the Year award.

Round of the day: Spieth was the only player without a bogey among the 28-man field, turning in a 4-under 66 that earned him a spot in Saturday's final pairing. He opened with seven pars before birdies in Nos. 8 and 9, then added another birdie on No. 16 before closing his round with a 19-foot birdie on the home hole.

Best of the rest: Stenson didn't match Thursday's torrid pace, but he didn't have to, either. The Swede birdied three of his first seven holes, turning in 1-under 34 before adding another birdie on No. 12 en route to a 68. Already the Tour's leader in GIR percentage this season, Stenson has found 29 of 36 greens in regulation this week.

Biggest disappointment: Brooks Koepka was in the early mix after an opening 68, but the American slid back with a 4-over 74 in Round 2. Koepka stumbled to four bogeys in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 4-9, and his lone birdie of the day came on No. 15. At 2 over, Koepka now trails by 11 shots with two rounds to go.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: An enticing weekend duel awaits between Stenson and Spieth, two of the five men who control their own destiny this week at East Lake. Both will win the FedEx Cup with a victory at the Tour Championship, a double-dip that would cement Spieth's status as the year's best player - or give the Swede his second season-long title in the last three years.

Shot of the day: Rose is quietly on the fringe of contention after a 2-under 68 that was helped in part by a birdie on No. 9 that was nearly one better. The Englishman had 47 yards left for his third shot on the par 5 and checked it up within a couple inches of the hole, setting up an easy tap-in.

Quote of the day: "It sets up well for solid iron play, and I seem to bring that." - Stenson, who has led after each of his six competitive rounds at East Lake.