Spieth stumbles, McIlroy in hunt at PGA Travelers

Jordan Spieth watches his second shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Travelers Championship. (AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK: Defending champion Jordan Spieth stumbled to a three-over-par 73 to fall from a share of the lead in Friday’s second round of the US PGA Travelers Championship while Rory McIlroy hung tough.

Reigning British Open champion Spieth, who fired a first-round 63, took a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 13th, his fourth hole of the day, and added three bogeys, an eagle and a lone birdie to stand on four-under 136.

McIlroy, a back-nine starter like Spieth, began the day one off the lead and shot 69 to stand on 133, three strokes adrift of early clubhouse leader Brian Harman, a US left-hander who followed his opening 64 with a 66.

Spieth put his tee shot left of the cart path at 13 and took a penalty stroke, then put his fourth shot into water. He finally reached the green in six and two-putted from 23 feet for triple bogey.

He found water again off the 15th tee and put his third shot into deep rough on the way to bogey.

Spieth answered by sinking a 13-foot birdie putt at the first hole but took bogeys after finding the rough off the second tee and a greenside bunker at the fourth, falling to the projected cut line.

But the three-time major winner responded with a tap-in eagle at the par-5 sixth, putting his second shot inches from the cup.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion, found a greenside bunker off the tee at the par-4 15th, blasted out to five feet and sank a birdie putt. He sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the second but took his lone bogey at seven after missing a six-foot par putt.

Harman, a runner-up at last year’s US Open, seeks his third US PGA crown after the 2014 John Deere Classic and last year’s Wells Fargo Championship.

Harman also began on the back nine and made three bogeys and three birdies before the turn, then birdied four of the first seven holes on his second nine of the day, the most impressive of them on a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-4 fourth.