2016-06-04 / State/National Sports

Steele, Kuchar share lead at Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Two matches at home against Phil Mickelson made Brendan Steele feel inadequate. Two rounds at the Memorial gave him a share of the lead.

Steele put in a little more work and it paid off over two days in soft conditions at Muirfield Village. He had a 5-under 67 on Friday and was tied for the lead with past Memorial champion Matt Kuchar (66) going into a wideopen weekend.

Steele, whose only PGA Tour victory was in his rookie season five years ago, took the last two weeks off to attend a wedding, go fishing with his father and venture over to San Diego to play a few games with Mickelson at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. Steele lost 2 and 1 on the first day, 5 and 4 on the second.

He made a quick fix with swing coach Rick Smith, had time for a few more tweaks, and he took that straight to the course for solid play over the last two days. And while there was nothing at stake, he has Mickelson by five shots at the moment.

Steele and Kuchar were at 12-under 132. The scoring was so good, however, that the cut was at 2-under 142, the lowest since Jack Nicklaus started this tournament in 1976.

Jordan Spieth for a brief moment looked as though he might be on the wrong side of it when he opened with two bogeys in four holes. He made six birdies over his last 12 holes for a 68 to at least stay in range, six shots behind at the halfway point.

Rory McIlroy shot a 66, playing the last seven holes in even par. Jason Day was thrilled with a 71 because he lost his swing and figured it should have been something in the upper 70s.

Emiliano Grillo feasted on the fast greens for a 66 and was one shot behind with Gary Woodland, who has quietly gone about rounds of 68-65. That included a shot into 3 feet for eagle on the par-5 15th.

Dustin Johnson, who opened with a 64, had a pair of bogeys on the back nine that slowed him, and he took a double bogey on the par-4 sixth hole. It led to a 71, though he was only three shots behind.

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