Spieth seeks contention on Sunday after 66

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The questions about completing a career Grand Slam don't have much impact for Jordan Spieth at the moment. As great as the accomplishment would be if he wins the PGA Championship, Spieth is more concerned about winning, period.

The three-time major champion has been battling putting and swing issues for the better part of the past year and has yet to post a top-20 finish in 2019.

Shooting 66 on Friday at Bethpage to finish in a tie for second place with Adam Scott was just a step in the proper direction.

"I can't imagine it will [cross my mind], because I haven't been in contention on a Sunday since The Open last year," Spieth said after completing 36 holes at 135, 5 under par and 7 strokes behind leader Brooks Koepka, who shot a 65 on Friday. "If I'm able to put some good work in tomorrow, then I will be in contention on Sunday.

"And at that point, it will be just more trying to win a golf tournament. It won't matter to me what tournament it is. I'll be pleased to be in contention."

Spieth is in position to complete a career Slam with a PGA win after having won the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open and the 2017 Open. He would join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to accomplish the feat.

For the first time since he won The Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017, Spieth has opened a major championship with consecutive rounds under par. And in each of his three major wins, he was in the 60s on the first two days.

He has had plenty of decent early rounds this year, as Spieth is ranked third on the PGA Tour in Round 2 scoring average. It's the weekends that have been a problem. Spieth is 193rd in the third round and 208th in the fourth. That helps explain why he has not had a top-10 finish since he tied for ninth at Carnoustie last year.

"I think there's only been a couple weeks where Thursday, Friday was good, and it was mainly just because of one round here or there where I holed out a shot," Spieth said. "This is different. I don't feel the same. I feel like the way I scored was actually the way that I played, and any time I was in a situation where it maybe looked like I was contending, it didn't feel like it this year, so far. And there were tournaments where I started, the Masters, one where I started really poorly on nine holes.

"I just had some nine holes that really beat me up this year, and I feel like even if things get a little off, like, yesterday's back nine had a chance to be one of those nines, and I was able to turn it around and finish the right way. It feels like I'm playing the way I'm scoring, which is really nice, and ... I think it's deceiving to look at first two days versus last two, because I think I just got away with stuff random days that happened to be coupled together."

Spieth made six birdies and just two bogeys and needed only 23 putts. He missed just one putt out of 11 between 5 and 10 feet. But he hit just nine of 18 greens, and he is still sorting through various issues.

"I played most of 2017 with just one swing thought and be reactive, and it was as good as anybody that year," Spieth said. "So, it's working back in that direction, but it was far enough off to make it pretty difficult, especially to trust it in certain situations in majors. It's just harder on the tees to sit there and fully trust it. Doing a pretty good job this week so far."