Spi­eth: ‘Noth­ing to lose’ go­ing for­ward at PGA

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Jor­dan Spi­eth all but con­ceded that his pur­suit of the ca­reer Grand Slam will have to wait until next year. So he’s ap­proach­ing the fi­nal two rounds of the PGA Cham­pi­onship like he has noth­ing to lose.

Spi­eth shot a 2 over 73 on Fri­day to move to 3 over for the tour­na­ment but slipped 11 strokes be­hind the co-lead­ers when the sec­ond round was sus­pended due to dark­ness with some two dozen play­ers still on the course. “I kind of ac­cept the fact that I’m essen­tially out of this tour­na­ment, pend­ing some form of crazy stuff the next cou­ple of days,” Spi­eth said. “But I’m sure go­ing to give it a try.”

Closer to the pro­jected cut line of 5 over than to co-lead­ers Kevin Kis­ner and Hideki Mat­suyama, Spi­eth joked that it would take a round of “prob­a­bly 54” to get back in it be­fore adding that he just wants to score “as low as I can go.”

Three weeks af­ter a late surge helped him win the Bri­tish Open and claim the third leg of the ca­reer Grand Slam, the 24year-old was try­ing to be­come the youngest player to have won all four major championships. Af­ter end­ing the first round five strokes off the lead, Spi­eth ac­knowl­edged he needed to close the gap dur­ing Round 2 to give him­self a chance.

In­stead, it more than dou­bled. A day af­ter Spi­eth didn’t make a putt longer than 5 feet on the new greens at Quail Hol­low, he made only two from 10 feet or longer - a 10-footer for par on No. 7, and a 12-footer on the 12th for his only birdie of the round.

“Things were in just such tough lo­ca­tions that it was hard to get the ball to feed to the hole,” Spi­eth said. “So it’s a tough track where they’re putting th­ese flag­sticks. It makes it tough to score . ... Just re­ally didn’t get many looks today, so with one birdie, it’s go­ing to be hard to post a solid round.”

With the tricky greens softer and slower af­ter a 1-hour, 45-minute rain de­lay, Spi­eth missed birdie putts of be­tween 10 and 40 feet on three con­sec­u­tive holes, Nos. 15-17. That came af­ter he ran into trou­ble on the 10th. His drive on the par-5 10th sliced so far right that he had to drop in a patch of pine straw to take re­lief from a cart path. His shot from that po­si­tion went straight across the fair­way and into more pine straw on the left side. His next shot ric­o­cheted off a tree and found yet more pine straw.

Then came an ap­proach that hit the edge of the green but rolled back, a chip that he left short and fi­nally an 8-foot putt f or his sec­ond bo­gey of the round. He also bo­geyed the par-4 18th af­ter he sent his tee shot into a fair­way bunker, then clipped the lip of the trap when he tried to es­cape and sent that shot left of the green and left his chip short, prompt­ing him to take an ex­tra swing of his wedge in frus­tra­tion. He missed a 10-foot par putt and tapped in for bo­gey.

“It was def­i­nitely a lot more get­table af­ter the rain de­lay than be­fore, no doubt about it,” Spi­eth said. “I played even par (ac­tu­ally 1 over) af­ter the de­lay, and that’s not very good in my opin­ion.” One of the main sub­plots this week at Quail Hol­low is Spi­eth’s chase to be­come the sixth player with a ca­reer Grand Slam.

Un­less he comes up with a colos­sal rally, Tiger Woods will re­main the youngest player to com­plete the ca­reer Grand Slam. When Spi­eth tees it up next year at Bel­lerive, he will be about six months older than Woods was when he pol­ished off his slam at the 2000 Bri­tish Open.

“On to the week­end, to try to fire at stuff,” Spi­eth said. “Noth­ing to lose.” — AP

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