KOHLER (Wisconsin) • Jordan Spieth, looking to carve out one more slice of golf history at this week's PGA Championship, delivered a special performance to move into contention before the second round was suspended late on Friday.
The Masters and US Open champion, bidding to claim his third Major title of the year, to emulate Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods, took advantage of relatively calm morning conditions at a sun-baked Whistling Straits by firing a five-under-par 67.
That left the 22-year-old American ominously placed at six-under 138, five strokes behind Australian Matt Jones.
The 35-year-old journeyman birdied two of his last six holes for a stunning 65 to seize a two-shot lead over compatriot Jason Day when play resumed yesterday after being halted due to the threat of lightning on Friday.
"I played great," said Jones, who won his first PGA Tour title at last year's Houston Open. "I putted really well. My speed on the greens has been really good.
"It's amazing to be in the lead at a Major. I've been in the lead on a Tour event, but a Major's a different story. I'm going to have fun with it. I'm pretty relaxed on the golf course."
Day, still seeking a first Major title after several close calls, was pleased after recording seven birdies and two bogeys in the second round for a 67.
"I gave myself opportunities on the greens, didn't really hit it close on 17 and 18, but overall I feel pretty happy with the position I'm in going into round three," he said.
Swede David Lingmerth, who won his first PGA Tour title at the Memorial Tournament in June, had held the clubhouse lead on Friday at seven under after carding 70.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, back in action to defend his PGA Championship crown after five weeks out due to an ankle injury, carded a second successive 71 to sit seven strokes off the pace.
"I didn't putt as well as I would have liked," the Northern Irishman said. "It would be great to hole a few more putts, because I feel like I'm giving myself plenty of chances."
Spieth, who shot 71 in tough afternoon conditions on Thursday, was delighted to play his way into contention, despite struggling with his driver.
"I'm still not pleased with the way I'm driving the ball at all. I'm hitting some quick draws when I'm playing a normal shot," he said.
"But I feel good. I made a couple putts today.
"With a couple chip-ins for the week, really smart course management and good speed control, we have been able to hold ourselves in there."
Spieth's round turned on an unexpected birdie at the treacherous par-four 18th where he spectacularly holed out for birdie from a tricky lie in a greenside bunker.
Japan's Hiroshi Iwata also took advantage of the early conditions and flirted with the first 62 at a Major before settling for a record-tying 63 in the second round.
Iwata, who racked up eight birdies, an eagle at the par-five 11th and a bogey, became the 25th player to shoot a 63 at a Major as he finished at four under.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE , REUTERS
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