The Zimbabwean shooting a second round 68. Rickie Fowler (67) and British Open champion Zach Johnson (65) were another shot behind.
PGA champion Jason Day kept alive his hopes to be No. 1 for the first time with another 68 that left him in a tie for 10th, six behind.
Rory McIlroy bogeyed four of his last six holes to finish with a 3-over 74 and make the cut by only one shot at 2-over 144.
“It is nearly like a bad dream. Obviously not very nice to finish with a three-putt”.
Spieth, who is his own biggest critic, admitted his confidence is shaken. “Maybe heightened by everything that has happened this year. I felt like my old self”. It was the first time since June 2014 that Spieth has had three straight rounds over par.
“I am going to take some time away”.
“I need to walk with some cockiness in my step these next two tournaments”.
“I hit a lot of good putts today that didn’t go in and that was probably to do with the speed”.
With Day, McIlroy and Spieth having a chance to be No. 1 in the world ranking, Day had the most promising start.
Day continues to show the best current form among the trio. It’s easy to watch Day now and say he’s the best player, but McIlroy and Spieth have been more consistent.
McIlroy closed Sunday with back-to-back birdies to get himself back to even par. “I hit a lot of good shots that hit the number we wanted, too, and they either bounded over the green or they just ended up in tough spots”.
“I was making everything I looked at, and then it slowly dried up”, Day said.
“Who knows what’s going on inside his head”, Day said. McIlroy connected with his putting coach after the second round. But upstairs, we can’t read that.
After an unusual missed cut at the Barclays last weekend, the Golden Child has missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship this week.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Moscow, Lee Slattery recovered from a double bogey to move into a two-shot lead after the third round of the Russian Open. At the par-5 seventh, he was up against or in bunkers on three straight shots before settling for par.
The departure of Jordan Spieth with a second consecutive missed cut leaves the door open for Jason Day to potentially take the world number one ranking at week’s end.
He started at the 10th hole and made two birdies in his first four holes before adding three in succession leading into the turn.
Even so, he insisted that his game isn’t as far off as it seems.
Estanisalo Goya (Argentina), came second on 14-under, with England’s David Horsey third on 13-under.
Hoffman, who was out early for his second round, ripped the course apart with an eight-under round that featured nine birdies and one bogey. He said: “It has been a hard year”. I’ve got to deal with that tonight.
“Normally my mental game is a strength of mine”, he explained. That’s how many players advance to the BMW Championship north of Chicago in two weeks.