World Number One Dustin Johnson, a previous victor of the tournament, is one off the lead at 9-under after a second round 68. But he patched together a solid front-nine one-under 35 with birdies at the sixth, eighth and ninth holes, and began to build momentum.
"Goals going forward this year is I would say, biggest and main one is get a major", Fowler said. Spieth made a mixed start to his round with three birdies and two bogeys, but the American then made his move.
With a win, a second and another top-five result in his past five worldwide starts, in-form Leishman is confident of lower scores and increasing his buffer zone against a star-studded field featuring seven of the world's top 10 golfers. It's windy, so you got to, you really got to strike the ball well.
"I think this year, the unknowns are very exciting", Spieth said.More news: Speechless, ashamed & numb: Yogendra on AAP RS nominees
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"One of the areas I feel like we have seen that can use some of the most improvement could be around 100 to 150 yards, wedges to pitching wedge, 9-iron, an area that I'm not necessarily bad at but statistically I can be better", he said. "So I kind of like it".
Rickie Fowler lost ground on the leaders after two dropped shots on the outward nine, although he dug deep to make four birdies and salvage at 71 which lifted him to six under, while Jordan Spieth charged back into contention. For Perez and Stroud, it puts them within two shots at eight-under 138 along with Jhonattan Vegas.
Starting the second round atop the US PGA Tour leaderboard, the Australian world No.12 seemingly couldn't buy a birdie putt on another windy day at Kapalua's Plantation course on Maui - but he managed to grind out a bogey-free, four-under-par 69. Spieth will need another strong day on Saturday, as he sits five back at five-under 141, tied with Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel.