(AFP) - Jordan Spieth fired a one-under 69 to seize a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Troy Merritt after Friday's (June 23) second round of the US PGA Travelers Championship.
Sixth-ranked Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion seeking his 10th tour title, stood on eight-under 132 after 36 holes at TPC River Highlands near Hartford, Connecticut.
Reed opened and closed with birdies in firing a 66 while Merritt shot 68 to stand on 133.
Spieth, who began on the back nine, birdied the par-four 12th but pulled his tee shot well left at the par-five 13th and took a penalty stroke on the way to a double-bogey.
"I was a little tentative to start," Spieth said.
"I had a double cross off the tee at the par-five, made double, but responded nicely."
Spieth answered with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-four 15th, then birdied the first and third holes, the latter from 35 feet.
"It was nice to see as many of those putts as possible go in to give me some confidence for the weekend," Spieth added.
A final stumble for Spieth came at the par-four fifth, blasting out from a bunker but missing a seven-foot par putt.
Reed opened with a 24-foot birdie and closed with a 13-foot birdie putt to grab a share of second with Merritt, a back-nine starter who made bogey at 16 but birdied 17 and 18, the latter from 31 feet, and the fourth to make his move.
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy fired a 73 to finish on 140, making the cut on the number. The Northern Ireland star, a four-time Major champion, made bogeys at the par-three fifth and 11th holes. He missed the green and a nine-foot par putt on the fifth, then found bunkers on 111 and 12 on the way to bogeys.
McIlroy birdied 14 and 15 but fell back with bogeys on 16 and 18.
World No. 4Jason Day of Australia missed the cut, firing four bogeys and four birdies for a 70 to stand on 142.