Open Championship 2015: Jordan Spieth takes 'big step forward'

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth has played down talk of him winning all four majors this year
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, Radio 5 live, sports extra, tablets, mobiles and app.

Jordan Spieth said he has taken "a big step forward" in his preparations for next week's Open Championship after an improved performance in the second round of the John Deere Classic.

The reigning Masters and US Open champion shot a seven-under-par 64 to move into contention in Illinois.

"I made a big step forward today," said American Spieth after moving to within five shots of leader Justin Thomas.

The 21-year-old hopes to win his third consecutive major title at St Andrews.

Thomas, 22, shot a four-under-par 67 to take a one-shot lead overall. Johnson Wagner and Tom Gillis are a shot back.

Spieth took time off after his US Open win at Chambers Bay last month and admitted to feeling rusty after a level par opening round of 71.

But the world number two rediscovered his form to make six birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey at the event he won in 2013.

He added: "I wasn't feeling great after yesterday. But to come out today and shoot a solid round gives me a lot of confidence in my preparations for next week."

Spieth's chances at St Andrews have been boosted by the injury to Rory McIlroy, which prevents the reigning Open champion from defending the title he won 12 months ago at Hoylake.

John Deere Classic second-round leaderboard
-12 J Thomas (US); -11 T Gillis (US), J Wagner (US); -10 D Summerhays (US), W Wilcox (US), S Pinckney (US); -9 B Molder (US), R Garrigus (US), S Wheatcroft (US), S Levin (US). Selected other:-7 J Spieth (US).