Spieth back in contention in Illinois

Spieth back in contention in Illinois

Jordan Spieth roared into contention with a stunning 64 at the John Deere Classic on Friday as he showed his game was in fine shape heading into next week’s Open Championship.

The world number two had recorded a level-par 71 in his opening round but, on a TPC Deere Run course notorious for its low-scoring, that was only good enough for a share of 101st and put him in real danger of missing the cut.

Spieth claimed his first PGA Tour win here in 2013, though, and he recorded an eagle, six birdies and a single bogey to sit five shots behind leader Justin Thomas heading into the weekend.

The Masters and US Open champion has been praised for maintaining his commitment to the event in the week before he attempts the third leg of the calendar grand slam at St Andrews but he maintains his goals are longer term.

“It’s on my mind but I’m really solely focused on how can I then get the third leg now because it is a career goal of mine to have a career grand slam, so if that happens in one year that would be something pretty special,” he told Sky Sports 4.

Spieth started on the back nine and made steady progress before birdies on 14, 16 and 18 saw him turn in 33. A further birdie followed at number one and a second shot to four feet on the par-five second set up an eagle.

He then picked up shots on five and seven before a bogey on eight provided the only blemish on the card.

“Today was a big step forward, I was not feeling great after Wednesday and then after yesterday being behind the eight-ball,” he added. “But to come today and shoot a solid round when I know I needed to and to have my putter working when I know I needed it to work, that gives me a lot of confidence.”

Thomas held a share of the lead coming into day two after an opening 63 and he followed that up with a 67 to sit 12 under and hold a one-shot advantage over Johnson Wagner and Tom Gillis.

The American continued his fine form from Thursday with birdies on the first and second and picked up another shot on six to turn in 32. A further birdie came on 11 but he gave that shot back on 13 before a gain on 17 secured top spot.

Wagner enjoyed the round of the day as a run of seven birdies in eight holes around the turn catapulted him into second with a flawless 63.

The 35-year-old fired four consecutive birdies from the sixth to the ninth and, after a par on 10, three more followed with another coming on 17.

Gillis turned in 34 but came alive on the back nine, finishing with four birdies in his last six holes as he signed for a 65 with Scott Pinckney, Daniel Summerhays and Will Wilcox a further shot back.

Zach Johnson was in the group at eight under alongside Steve Stricker while joint overnight leader Nicholas Thompson could not build on his first round and was a shot further back at seven under with Spieth and Vijay Singh.

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