Then, on to golf, and a round whose highlight was a near ace on the par-3 11th, when he hit to two inches. It was a day that Spieth could have gained some real ground if not for the three bogeys that interfered. Still, overall, Friday left Spieth nothing but hopeful.
“I thought I turned a 5-under round into 1 yesterday. And I thought I turned a 6 under into 3 today, which is a really good sign,” he said.
He went on to explain this crazy train of thought: “I’ve learned to really be excited about that because I normally get the most out of my rounds, and when I’m playing really well and just not quite scoring, typically the scoring follows.”
Reed’s scorecard on mend, too
Patrick Reed told us he was feeling better every day after his recent, very serious, bout with double pneumonia. And he has the proof: Golf’s version of the vaccination card, the scorecard.
While he faded on the back nine Thursday – 2 over on the way to a 72 – he rallied Friday. On the strength of going 2 under on the back, Reed finished the day with a 69.
Not all aces this day for English
Golf gives and it takes. On Thursday, former Georgia golfer Harris English put together a stress-free 66, underpinned by the first-ever Tour Championship hole-in-one on No. 15.
On Friday, the route to a 69, which left him at an adjusted 9 under, eight off the lead, was strewn with five bogeys. He was grinding from beginning to end.
“It’s one of the things, you hit it in the rough a little bit, and then you can’t really hit the green (he hit eight of 14 fairways). But I still like my spot. It looks like they’re kind of running away with it, (Patrick) Cantlay and (Jon) Rahm, so hopefully I can come out and get a low one tomorrow and get back in it.”
High round/low round
No real calamities out there Friday, with both Collin Morikawa and Erik van Rooyen shooting 73 for the day’s high score. At the other end lived small redemption for Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama. Here is the reason that after a really bad round you don’t break all your clubs, burn your bag and take up mahjong. There’s always the next day. Having gone high Thursday, Matsuyama matched Jon Rahm’s 65 on Friday.
East Lake made a harsh first impression Friday. No. 1 played the hardest of the day, at an average of 4.40. There was but one birdie there in the second round. That by Viktor Hovland (requiring a 31-foot, big-breaking, downhill putt), while more than a third of the field - 11 players - took bogey.