Jordan Spieth breezes to easy win at Pebble Beach Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Jordan Spieth’s doing Jordan Spieth things again.

That doesn’t bode well for his colleagues.

Following a commanding performance among a collection of celebrities and sports stars Saturday at Pebble Beach, in which he one-putted 13 times and shot 65 to arm himself with a 6-shot lead after 54 holes, Spieth kept his opposition at bay above Stillwater Cove and Carmel Bay and coasted to victory Sunday in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The player ranked No. 6 in the world didn’t have to do anything spectacular with such a large cushion in hand and just had to stay away from big mistakes to stifle drama and claim his ninth PGA Tour title. While he didn’t deliver his best on Sunday, he still shot a bogey-free, 2-under-par 70 and felt little pressure en route to a four-shot win on a spectacular day by the sea.

Only 2011 U.S. Amateur champion and good friend Kelly Kraft came within three shots of Spieth, whose birdies came from a foot on 2 and 29 feet on 17.

“Today I hit 17 greens, sort of a dream round when you’re leading by a bunch. But it was sort of boring golf,” said Spieth, 23, who joined Tiger Woods as the only players since World War II with nine PGA Tour wins before turning 24 (Woods won 15).

The win came in Spieth’s 100th start as a pro on the Tour (Woods won 28 of his first 100). And the victory also was the seventh consecutive on Tour by a player in their 20s, the longest streak since 1970.

“That was the game plan,” Spieth said. “We got to every tee box and Michael (Greller, his caddie) said, ‘Keep playing boring golf.’ I don’t like playing boring golf, but that’s what we did. ...

“This is a bucket place list place to win. Here, Augusta National, St. Andrews, I mean there’s only a few in the world, it feels really special. It was amazing walking up the 18th green knowing that we were going to win.”

While his putter cooled in the final round — he left so many putts short that he started muttering to Greller — Spieth finished with rounds of 68-65-65-70 to wind up at 19-under 268 with just four bogeys this week.

Kraft closed with a 67 to finish second. Dustin Johnson (68) finished five back in third while two-time Pebble winner Brandt Snedeker (70) finished six back in fourth. Gary Woodland made a career-best 10 birdies to shoot 65 and finished at 12 under and in a tie for fifth with world No. 1 Jason Day (67) and Jon Rahm (68).

“It was fun watching Jordan battle out there today,” Snedeker said. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he did exactly what he was supposed to do and played a great round of golf. Sometimes those are the hardest rounds of golf, when you have the lead that he had. So impressed with the way he played, and it was fun to watch him do his thing out there.”

It was Spieth’s first win on the PGA Tour since the Dean & DeLuca Invitational last May and his first win since the Australian Open in November on the Australasia Tour.

Just as importantly, the two-time major champion and green jacket winner in 2015 gathered momentum as the clock ticks down to the Masters in April. The win gives him recent visualization to call upon.

Although he had finished third twice and ninth once in his three starts in 2017, and was pleased with his ball-striking, Spieth knew his putter was ailing a tad. Eager to marry the path of his stroke with the face of his putter to provide optimal contact and achieve the desired speed of his putts, Spieth went to work. The results were evident as he needed just 113 putts this week.

“I’ve been striking the ball really well and I’ve just been waiting for the putter to come around,” Spieth said. “It did, especially the middle rounds. I’ve got my confidence back with the putter.

“And I think this is as well as I’ve ever struck the ball (for an entire tournament). Ever. I can take that going forward.”

USA Today Sports


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