After a round of 1-under 69, Jordan Spieth leads The 146th Open Championship by two strokes over Matt Kuchar. Here is where we stand heading into the weekend at a wet and windy Royal Birkdale:
Leaderboard: Spieth (-6), Kuchar (-4), Ian Poulter (-3), Brooks Koepka (-3), Richie Ramsay (-2), Austin Connelly (-1), Rory McIlroy (-1), Gary Woodland (-1)
What it means: Spieth is now 36 holes from his 11th career victory and his third major championship. After dropping a shot at the ninth and making the turn in 1 over, Spieth found a spark when he pitched in for par at No. 10 and then quickly followed up with birdies at 11 and 12. Though he made two more bogeys at 14 and 16, he slipped in an eagle at 15 to play the back in 2-under 34. Should he manage to parlay his lead into a win on Sunday, Spieth would be only the second player to claim three legs of the Grand Slam before the age of 24, joining Jack Nicklaus. He would then head to Quail Hollow in three weeks eyeing the slam itself at the PGA Championship. Of course, before any of that can happen, Spieth is going to have to fend off challenges this weekend from the likes of Kuchar, Poulter, Koepka and McIlroy.
Round of the day: The 2015 Champion Golfer of the Year Zach Johnson made five birdies against a lone bogey to post 4 under, the lowest round of the day by two shots. The nine-shot turnaround from his opening 75 has him tied for 20th at plus-1.
Best of the rest: Following a horrific start to the championship in which he bogeyed five of his first six holes, McIlroy is now on the first page of the leaderboard. He made four birdies against two bogeys to sign for 2-under 68. Since going out in 39 on Day 1, the Ulsterman has played his last 27 holes at Birkdale 6 under.
Biggest disappointments: Notable names to miss the 5-over cut include Padraig Harrington (+6), Si Woo Kim (+6), Justin Thomas (+7), Patrick Reed (+8), Ryan Moore (+8), Darren Clarke (+8), Bill Haas (+9), Phil Mickelson (+10), Stewart Cink (+10), Shane Lowry (+10), Mark O'Meara (+11), David Duval (+11), John Daly (+12), amateur Maverick McNealy (+12), Billy Horschel (+12), Wesley Bryan (+12), and Bryson DeChambeau (+13).
Shot of the day: Facing his second dropped shot in as many holes at the par-4 10th, Spieth managed to save his par by holing his pitch from off the green just before weather briefly stopped play at Royal Birkdale:
That unlikely par save immediately led to back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 that would give Spieth the outright lead, one he wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the day.
Quote of the day: “When I finished my round (Thursday), I was informed that the house where I am staying had been burgled. … As many of you know, the claret jug was returned to the R&A on Monday but unfortunately, along with some valuable personal items, they have taken all of my clothing for the week.” – a portion of a statement from Henrik Stenson