Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth fire low rounds of day to vault up CJ Cup leaderboard

October 18, 2019

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are on the move, Brooks Koepka is trending in the wrong direction and Viktor Hovland is adding to his streak. Here’s what you missed in the second round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea.

Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth surge

Thomas fired a bogey-free nine-under 63 and his buddy Spieth offset two bogeys with nine birdies to shoot 65 on Friday at the CJ Cup in South Korea. They were the two low rounds of the day. Thomas now holds a two-stroke lead over Byeong Hun An and Danny Lee, and Spieth jumped 25 spots and is now tied for fourth, four back of Thomas.

“I didn’t do anything unbelievably; it just was a very stress-free day,” said Thomas, whose 131 breaks the event’s 36-hole scoring record by four. “Obviously playing well, that makes it stress-free, but I just kind of kept the ball in play off the tee, hit some good irons.”

Spieth is making his season debut after two months off. His 65 was five strokes better than his opening round.

“I felt like I hit it a little better today than yesterday,” Spieth said. “I rolled in a lot of putts today, and certainly don’t want to have to rely on that over the weekend. Certainly the ball-striking improved as well, and I’m in position to try and do something similar to these first two rounds on the weekend.”

Justin Thomas hits a drive during the second round of the CJ Cup.
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Brooks Koepka falls back

While Thomas, Spieth and others jumped into contention for the weekend, World No. 1 Koepka stumbled on Friday. Koepka made five bogeys and shot a three-over 75. Only seven players signed for a higher score on Friday. Koepka plummeted 36 spots down the leaderboard and is now tied for 51st and at even par, 13 back of Thomas. The defending champ is still around for the weekend in the no-cut event, but he’ll have lots of work to do.

Phil Mickelson from long range

Phil Mickelson, from waaaaay back on the 353-yard par-4 14th hole, hit the flag with his tee shot and made the first eagle of the week. Mickelson shot 72 on Friday and is two under overall.

Hail to the Viktor

Viktor Hovland set a PGA Tour record on Thursday with his opening-round 69, his 18th straight round in the 60s. He added to the record on Friday with another 69, making it 19 straight rounds in the 60s. He’s six under overall entering the weekend and tied for 12th.

Up next

Third-round coverage of the CJ Cup begins at 10 p.m. ET on Friday on Golf Channel. The broadcast runs to 2 a.m. ET on Saturday.