Brendan Steele and Matt Kuchar made the most of calm conditions on Friday to share the halfway lead at the Memorial, where Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth remained in the hunt heading into the weekend.
Steele backed up a first-round 65 with a five-under 67 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
Kuchar carded a second straight 66 to share the lead on 12-under 132.
They were one stroke in front of Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, who posted a 66, and American Gary Woodland, whose 65 was the low round of the day and included six birdies and an eagle.
“A lot of things are going right,” Steele said.
“Obviously, conditions are really good. So there are a lot of good scores out there,” he added.
In a marquee duel, McIlroy and Spieth elicited roars throughout the afternoon, combining for 14 birdies.
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy carded a 66 to finish five shots behind the leaders in a tie for 12th, while Spieth had a 68 and was another stroke back in a tie for 22nd.
“I felt like I putted nicely,” said McIlroy, who tied for the second-lowest round of the day. “I feel like my pace has been a little bit better, which was something I wanted to work on. That is an improvement, and I am happy with that.”
World No. 1 Day of Australia, a Muirfield Village member, was in the group with McIlroy on 137 after a 71 that included five birdies and four bogeys.
Phil Mickelson was also on 137 after a 69, including seven birdies.
Matthew Fitzpatrick made the turn in 32 strokes on Friday and eventually opened a three-shot lead after two rounds of the Nordea Masters.
Fitzpatrick’s bogey-free seven-under 65 put him at 11-under overall at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club and in sight of a second European Tour win, to go with his British Masters victory in November last year.
In his only top-10 finish this season, he closed the US Masters with a 67 to tie for seventh.
In a five-way tie for second were Fitzpatrick’s English countrymen Ross Fisher (68) and Andrew Johnston (69), Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium (66), local hope Alexander Bjork (68) and Scott Henry of Scotland (69).
Lee Westwood was six shots behind Fitzpatrick after a 71, while Henrik Stenson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 6, was two shots inside the even-par cut at two-under after a round of 70.
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