May 20, 2017: While big-hitting Jason Kokrak has an AT&T Byron Nelson record five-stroke lead through 36 holes, he knows that is only halfway with plenty of other players who could make a weekend charge.
That includes top-ranked Dustin Johnson. But not local favorite Jordan Spieth after he missed the cut Friday for the first time at the tournament where he made his debut as a 16-year-old high school junior.
“Yeah, a bit shocking that’s how it happened,” said Spieth, who missed the cut by a stroke after a 5-under 75 that included a 9 at the par-5 16th hole after he hit two tee shots out of bounds.
India’s Anirban Lahiri missed the cut with a three-over-par 73 in he second round in addition to his first round of five-over-par 75 to have a early exit in day 2.
Kokrak, ranked 128th in the world, shot a bogey-free 8-under 62 for his career-best scoring round and matched the Nelson’s 36-hole record at 12-under 128. No one has ever had a bigger lead there after two rounds than his five strokes over Billy Horschel (65), who finished with three consecutive birdies.
“It’s 36 holes. You’ve got the No. 1 player in the world chasing you, you’ve got x-number of other players that are outstanding players,” Kokrak said, when asked about having wiggle room. “Same game plan, just give myself birdie opportunities.”
Maybe as surprising as Kokrak’s big lead halfway through the last Nelson to be played at TPC Four Seasons is the 23-year-old Spieth, the 2015 Masters Tournament and U.S. Open champion, done playing this week.
Spieth also missed the cut last week in THE PLAYERS Championship. He last missed consecutive cuts in 2015.
With a 3-over total after the horrendous 16th hole, and needing at least one birdie, Spieth’s 17-foot birdie try at No. 17 curled by the cup, and he missed a 14-footer on 18.
“It didn’t need to happen. Just playing fine and I tried to just, you know, press it to try to reach the green in two, and then I tried to do it again,” Spieth said, referring to the par-5 16th.