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Jordan Spieth failed to gain much ground on the leaderboard Friday, as he shot a one-under 71 in the second round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin.
Spieth now sits at even par overall for the tournament, and he entered the clubhouse in a tie for 45th place, seven strokes behind leaders Paul Casey, Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka.
Here is a look at the current leaderboard from Erin Hills:
Spieth struggled to find any level of consistency Friday, as he finished the round with three birdies, two bogeys and 13 pars.
Although he has plenty of work to do during the weekend in order to be a threat, he did manage to make the cut.
The 23-year-old put himself in a difficult position Thursday by shooting a one-over 73 due largely to uncharacteristic struggles on the green.
That didn’t appear to be an issue during the early part of his second round, however.
Spieth birdied the first hole, and after a pair of pars, he connected on another birdie putt on No. 4 to move to two-under for the day.
As Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News pointed out, Spieth seemed much more sure of himself with the putter in his hands:
Brad Townsend @townbrad
Made it. Putting stroke looks 100-percent more authoritative than yesterday, when Spieth admitted that his many misses made hole seem small. https://t.co/NJIgL7Wqkp
Sean Zak of Golf.com added that putting was essentially the only issue that hindered him during an up-and-down first round:
Sean Zak @Sean_Zak
Spieth played very solid tee to green yesterday (13 FW, 13 greens). Couldn’t make a putt. Now making putts. Look out.
Although the Texan appeared primed for a big round to potentially put himself in contention, the first signs of trouble surfaced on No. 6.
Spieth seemed in good position to card at least a par, but his putter failed him to the tune of a three-putt inside 40 feet, via Townsend:
Brad Townsend @townbrad
Spieth with his first bobble, on the par 3 6th. Three-putt from 37-feet for bogey, including a missed 5-footer for par.
The two-time major champion quickly got that stroke back on the par-five seventh by virtue of a spectacular bunker shot that gave him an easy birdie putt.
Strong play around the greens was a theme for Spieth on the front nine, especially on the ninth, where he preserved a par with a nearly perfect chip, per Marika Washchyshyn of Golf.com:
Marika Washchyshyn @Marika_AW
Spieth just rolling it around the greens like it’s Augusta out here. What a chip.
Spieth made the turn at two under on the round, and his back nine was fairly uneventful until the par-four 15th.
Needing a four-foot par putt to preserve par, Spieth missed and settled for bogey, which put him just one shot above the projected cut line of one-over.
That meant Spieth could ill afford to make mistakes over the final three holes, and he did well enough to par all of them and make the cut.
While moving on to Saturday may seem like a small victory, it is significant when considering how many big names failed to, as evidenced by this stat courtesy of Global Golf Post‘s Rob Coleman:
Rob Coleman @RobAtThePost
Only 1 of the 7 guys to achieve No. 1 world ranking in past 5 years will play the weekend at #USOpen: Jordan Spieth
Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day were among the casualties who will not play over the weekend.
Spieth has two rounds ahead of him, but he will need some far better performances in order to make a run at his second career U.S. Open title.