AT&T Byron Nelson Halfway Hut: Jordan Spieth on the charge but chasing a leading trio

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This week matters. Of course it does - everyone would like to win the AT&T Byron Nelson. But for those players who want to contend in next week's PGA Championship their results this week at TPC Craig Ranch need to be good because eight of the last 10 winners of that Major landed a top 20 in their last start ahead of their triumph.

So Jordan Spieth, who next week will be seeking a career Grand Slam, would have been happy to have started his week with a 67 and even happier to add a 65 in round two.

It leaves him tied sixth on 12-under 132 on a packed leaderboard, three shots behind the three leaders Ryan Palmer, David Skinns and Sebastian Munoz. He had ticked a hat trick of birdies early in his round, on the back nine, and then swapped five birdies and a bogey after the turn.

"I've been driving it nicely, haven't really had to worry too much about that stuff," he said afterwards. "Today didn't drive it quite as nice as yesterday, but I putted a lot better. Boring golf is certainly preferred." The Texas man is on home soil and a little curious about the course conditions. "I'm a little bit surprised at how, on a not-so-difficult golf course they have also set it up a little easier for us," he said. "I thought that it would show a little more teeth than last year and I couldn't have been more wrong." The cut was made a 4-under and youngsters Will Zalatoris and Sam Burns were among those who went that low and yet will miss the weekend. In all, 19 players sit at 10-under or lower.

Stats

We've only got three tournaments at TPC Craig Ranch to go on (and two of them were on the Korn Ferry Tour), but all three of the winners spent all week inside the top 10 ahead of their triumph. Two of them were top three after 36 holes and all three were top three at the end of the third round - something to keep an eye on.

All of the top four in the 2008 event, all of the top eight in 2012 and each of the top six last year ranked top 20 for Greens in Regulation. Similarly, all of the top eight in 2008 and nine of the top 10 in 2012 ranked top 20 for Putting Average - last year the winner KH Lee ranked first. Last year five of the top six ranked top seven for SG Approach. This year that latter trend looks very different: currently only Justin Lower and Hideki Matsuyama are top seven in that category and ranked T9th or better. Sebastian Munoz and Charl Schwartzel are the only players currently ranked top 20 for both GIR and PA.

Quotes

Ryan Palmer - leading on 15-under

"Today it was just about coming out knowing you've got to shoot low on this golf course. The things I'm working on, is just staying in the moment, hitting the shots I need to and I feel like it's some of the best putting I've been doing lately and it showed today. All around, the chipping, the driving, everything's working right now. But I'm just playing smart. I'm hitting the driver well and putting myself in position to give myself some easy birdie chances."

David Skinns - leading on 15-under

"I put a new driver in play on Wednesday and I think last week I was 154th in driving, which you can't compete with. I realized my driver was broken, actually, the face was broken and I've been playing with it for who knows how long. Now it's just on me to keep swinging it properly and use it correctly. I like Weiskopf designs, it just seems to fit my eye."

Sebastian Munoz - leading on 15-under

"Yesterday was super easy, today was a little tougher. We had a lot more in-between numbers and we struggled with the speed of the greens on the front. It's tough to back-up a 60, but I feel like I did a good job of closing the round and going out with a 69."

Charl Schwartzel - solo fifth on 13-under

"There is some familiarity to me with some of the courses I played back in South Africa. I don't feel claustrophobic off the tee, it gives me a bit of space, and once I can get it in play iron play is not much of a problem. So just really comfortable."

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The article AT&T Byron Nelson Halfway Hut: Jordan Spieth on the charge but chasing a leading trio appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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