Spieth has been consulting legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps as he attempts to join Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only golfers to complete the career grand slam. Lee is tied for 95th a shot back.
McIlroy was wrong, however, as a host of players hit the birdie trail, led by Offaly man Lowry, who was five under for the day with three to go before racking up a triple bogey six at the 17th to card a 69 that left him nine shots off the pace on one-over.
Koepka had earlier struck a marshal in the head with his tee shot at the 16th hole.
"Joost" Luiten of the Netherlands collected a hole-in-one at the 181-yard, par-3 fourth hole. After those tournament-saving birdies McIlroy smashed his drive fully 365 yards, hit his approach to 14 feet and rolled his putt to the lip of the hole.
In position at 4-under par and just four strokes behind leader Kisner, Woodland settled for par after missing a three-footer for birdie on the par-4 14, then bogeyed the par-5 16 hole with a flubbed chip shot and missed 8-footer after almost reaching the green in two. The former longtime PGA and Web.com Tour member is at 2-over 142 through 36 holes after rounds of 74-70.
"I'm hitting the ball really nice and things are going my way".
Marc Leishman is now at 4-over while Adam Scott had a round to forget at 5-over and is now above the cut line.
McIlroy was either first or second after the opening round in each of his major victories to date, but said: "I'm only five behind".
He had a putt just over 12 feet for birdie on the 18th that would have tied the PGA Championship record of 63, but it missed to the left. "If I get out tomorrow and get off to hopefully a better start, I feel like I'll still be right in this tournament".
"I can't putt any worse than I did today", he said. "Kis is on fire". "Any tournament I ever play, I'm gonna be raising money for charity, right?"
Back in May, Kisner won at Colonial and followed it a week later with a T6 at Memorial, two of the finest courses on the PGA Tour. Given the size of Quail Hollow, Kisner drew up a simple plan. "That's what can happen on this golf course". "Even if they didn't do anything else with the golf course and just changed it to full bermuda like it is now, all of a sudden makes the golf course two shots more hard".
Kisner sank a five-footer for birdie at the par-5 15th then parred the next nine holes before reaching the seventh, where his second shot was just shy of the green, setting up the dramatic putt to a front pin position. "So I'm looking forward to the weekend and having an opportunity to keep making birdies and playing well".
His aim at the ATB Financial Classic is to make the cut, though he says a hectic week of media interviews, continual fundraising and practicing hasn't allowed him to think about potential celebrations. "Had a good chance at the last and didn't quite convert".
"Let's be honest, I have one good side and it's a very hard a sport", Miller said.