Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Hoffman takes Deutsche Bank lead as Spieth exits

AFP, NORTON, Massachusetts

Rory McIlroy hits the ball out of a bunker next to the 16th green in the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, on Saturday.

Photo: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY

Charley Hoffman on Saturday fired an eight-under 63 to take the halfway lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship where his sparkling effort was overshadowed by Jordan Spieth’s second straight missed cut.

Hoffman, who is hoping to make the US Presidents Cup team this week, finished at 12-under 130 and is three shots ahead of Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe at the TPC Boston.

Australia’s Matt Jones (67) was tied for third at eight-under in a group with US golfers Zach Johnson (65), Kevin Chappell (67) and Rickie Fowler (67).

PGA Champion Jason Day shot his second straight 68 and was tied for 10th, six shots behind Hoffman, while Northern Ireland’s world No. 1 Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th to shoot 74 and just sneak into the third round above the cut line.

Day and McIlroy started the week in a battle for the top ranking along with Spieth — who was the biggest surprise of the day.

The 22-year-old reigning Masters and US Open champion stumbled to a two-over 73, the first time in his young career he missed consecutive cuts as an amateur or professional on the USPGA Tour.

“It is almost like a bad dream. Just wake up and get the putts to go again,” said Spieth, who added he is going to take a few days off after Saturday’s disappointing round.

Spieth had bogeys on three of his final six holes as he finished 36 holes at six-over 148.

Spieth, who is his own biggest critic, admitted his confidence is shaken.

“I had really bad self-talk this week, something I hadn’t experienced in quite awhile,” Spieth said. “Maybe heightened by everything that has happened this year.”

“Not only was I out of it, but I was also outside the cutline and maybe that heightened my self-talk,” Spieth added.

It was just the fourth missed cut of the season for Spieth, who was seeking to rebound this week after failing to get into the weekend action last week at The Barclays in New Jersey.

“I am going to take some time away. Probably be good for me to take at least four days and not touch a club,” he said, adding he would be mentally and physically ready for the BMW Championship, the third of four events in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“I need to walk with some cockiness in my step these next two tournaments,” Spieth said. “I can control that walking with the cockiness whether things are going good or bad and that is what you have to have inside the ropes. I will bring it when we get to Chicago.”

Spieth’s two week stint as world No. 1 came to an abrupt end at The Barclays, with McIlroy regaining the top spot even though he did not play last week.

Spieth had toppled McIlroy from the No. 1 ranking three weeks ago with a runner-up finish to Day at the PGA Championship.

Of golf’s top trio, Day is playing the best at TPC Boston. He got off to a shaky start with two pars followed by a bogey on No. 3 before settling in to his round.

Day birdied a couple of par-fours at No. 4 and No. 6 and then finished the front nine with three straight pars. Day began the back nine with consecutive birdies at 10 and 11, then parred the next seven to finish the day at three-under.

He said he needed to drive it better on the weekend, to give himself better approaches into the greens.

“I did hit a lot of greens, but I just didn’t get it close enough to the hole and to try and hole 40-footers all day, it’s very difficult to do,” he said. “I’ve got to try and straighten it up for the weekend.”

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