AUGUSTA, GA – Justin Rose’s second-nine sprint in the Masters standings aside, Thursday’s most entertaining lap could have been shot by Jordan Spieth.
“A bit typical for me at the Masters,” Spieth said, when asked to describe his 1 under 71, which left him six shots behind Rose. “Good golf, then fireworks at both ends.”
It featured an eagle at No.15 which Spieth said was ‘the luckiest break I’ve ever had here’, to a horrible triple bogey at No.9, thanks to a visit to the woods on the right, It took two strokes to escape, followed by two short missed putts once on the green.
In between were two long birdie putts but also a heroic response to his 7 in the ninth.
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“I did, really two bad swings off the tee at 9 and 13, I ran away with one and I didn’t succeed with the other,” he said. “Other than that, I hit the ball really well. I would have signed for a 71 if it was 17 pars and a birdie.
Spieth, who won the Valero Texas Open last week for his first victory in nearly four years, started the day well with a top-down birdie from a bunker on the greenside at No.2. putts for bogey at No. 2.4 and drained a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 8 after flaring his drive into the deep fairway bunker and being forced to lie down.
His trouble as a ninth started when he pushed his tee shot into the right trees at No.9. Spieth thought he saw an opening but the ball hit a tree and with a “thud” ricocheted back. .
The good news is that Spieth had more than one escape route, and hit his third shot before the green.
After throwing, he missed a 5-foot bogey attempt, then an even less double bogey attempt for his second three putts of the first nine.
His answer could have kept him in the tournament.
“I reset the goal… I have to try to hit three greens in regulation, [Nos.] 10, 11 and 12, then two par 5s, pull 2 pennies and hold par. “
It didn’t work quite that way, but it was actually a shot better.
Spieth hit in an 18-foot birdie putt at No.10, pared No.11 and 12, then made another trip into the woods at No.13 but played down the damage with a par.
After a good two 40-foot putt in the 14th, Spieth hit his second shot in the 15th par-5 on the green. No problem. He just ran for the eagle.
The ball was rolling when it hit the flag. Spieth said if it hadn’t, the ball probably would have gone into the water.
“It could have been in the middle of the water,” he said.
Spieth made it to the under par clubhouse with two safe putts on the last three holes.
“I’m not really going to focus on Rosie,” he said of the leader. “It’s a hell of a trick. I guess the golf course will be just as difficult. I have a pretty short memory here, especially on the first few laps.