Holmes leapfrogs Clark at Phoenix Open, struggling Spieth misses cut

By Sports Desk January 31, 2020

J.B. Holmes surged to the top of the Phoenix Open leaderboard after the second round, while Jordan Spieth's woes continued as the former world number one missed the cut.

American golfer Holmes leapfrogged overnight leader Wyndham Clark with a six-under-par 65 for a one-stroke lead on Friday.

Holmes used an eagle and six birdies, to go with a pair of bogeys, to rise to the top at the halfway stage of the PGA Tour tournament.

A five-time Tour winner, Holmes is 13 under through 36 holes, ahead of countryman Clark (69) at TPC Scottdale in Arizona.

Billy Horschel (68) and South Korea's Byeong Hun An are two shots adrift and tied for third, while Scott Piercy (65) is a stroke further back heading into the third round.

Two-time runner-up Bubba Watson (66), Tony Finau (66) and Jon Rahm (68) are seven under, with Justin Thomas tied for 17th following his second-round 68.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler showed signs of improvement thanks to his six-under-par 65.

After opening with a 74, American star Fowler responded by holing two eagles and three birdies on day two.

However, it was another tough day for three-time major champion Spieth – who missed the cut at one over.

Without a title since the 2017 Open Championship, Spieth's 69 was not enough to rescue the American after his first-round 74.

Spieth, who was tied for 55th at the Farmers Insurance Open, said: "I just really wanted it. I wanted to play the weekend. I had a bunch of buddies coming into town, wanted to kind of give them something to watch the next couple days.

"When I couldn't do the easy part for me, which is putting, that's what was so frustrating. It hasn't been like that. It's been putting saving me, and today it was kind of a little bit of the opposite."

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  • Pepperell leads by one shot heading into final round at The Belfry Pepperell leads by one shot heading into final round at The Belfry

    Eddie Pepperell holed a long-range birdie at the last hole to take a one-shot lead into Saturday's final round of the British Masters at The Belfry.

    The 30-year-old was a shot back from overnight leaders Calum Hill, Robert MacIntyre and Richard Bland at the start of play on Friday, but a second successive 68 moved him into the lead.

    Pepperell, who won the tournament in 2018, finished strongly with three birdies in his last seven holes - including an impressive 40-foot putt on the 18th.

    That moved the world number 210 to 10 under for the tournament, with six players - including erstwhile leaders Hill and MacIntyre - in a tie for second.

    Edoardo Molinari, Adrian Meronk, Dean Burmester and Guido Migliozzi were all also a stroke off the pace in a congested pack that saw the leading 26 players separated by five shots at the 54-hole stage.

    "I remember the game feeling easier when I was playing better a few years ago. That's what I'm trying to get back to," Pepperell told Sky Sports.

    "There were times out there today I didn't get it and times when I did - that seems to be the way it is.

    "I've still got things going on in the swing that I can feel aren't where they once were and can cause me aggro, so the game still feels difficult."

    Pre-tournament favourite MacIntyre dropped his only shot of the day on the par-four 10th hole as he failed to recover from a wayward tee shot.

    "The way I play golf is aggressive and the course suits me perfectly," MacIntyre said. "When I'm in the fairway, a right-hand side pin is in danger, I just can't leave it alone.

    "I didn't drive it my best today but I hit my irons beautifully - they were all over the pin but the putter was cold. It was on fire the day before so hopefully it turns up tomorrow."

    Three birdies in his last four holes ensured that MacIntyre's fellow Scotsman Hill also remained firmly in the mix, while Molinari revived his own hopes by posting a 64, the lowest score of the day.

  • Hill, MacIntyre and Bland share lead at The Belfry Hill, MacIntyre and Bland share lead at The Belfry

    Calum Hill dropped into a share of the lead with Robert MacIntyre and Richard Bland by bogeying the last hole in his second round at the British Masters.

    Hill held a one-shot advantage when he teed off at the 18th at The Belfry on Thursday, but moved to back seven under in a disappointing finish.

    The 26-year-old Kirkcaldy native was a shot back from overnight leader Matthias Schwab at the start of the day and a two-under 70 kept him firmly in the mix.

    Hill birdied the third and chipped in from thick greenside rough to go seven under at the fourth, going out in 35 after a first bogey of the day at the par-four eighth.

    Back-to-back gains followed straight after the turn, but he was unable to stay out on his own, bogeying the final hole after reeling off six consecutive pars.

    MacIntyre made his move with a brilliant six-under 66, starting with five birdies in a row and picking up another three shots on the back nine after bogeys at the sixth and 12th.

    The left-hander, tied for 12th in The Masters last month, had started the tournament with a 71, but surged up the leaderboard with a magnificent second round.

    Bland backed up his opening 68 with a three-under 69 and the Englishman is bogey-free through his opening two rounds.

    Frenchman Julien Guerrier signed for a sublime 66 to stand well poised just a shot off the leading trio along with Justin Harding and Eddie Pepperell.

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