PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – It’s safe to say those slow starts this year are behind Jordan Spieth.
The world No. 6 headed into Thursday’s start of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am determined to “to get off to a hotter start.” In his three previous starts since the calendar turned to 2017, he shot 1-under 72 in the first round of the SBS Tournament of Champions and last week opened with a 1-under 71 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Even in his other starts, in the Sony Open, his 65 felt pedestrian considering playing partner Justin Thomas shot 59.
Spieth was swift in his ascent to the first page of the leaderboard at the rain-delayed Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The two-time major champion and 2015 FedExCup winner finished off a 3-under 68 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula with two pars Friday morning, then headed over to Spyglass Hill and made birdies on his first two holes and kept on rolling.
With just one bogey on his card, Spieth shot 7-under 65 to reach 10 under through 36 holes.
Not only did Spieth batter par, he beat the fog, which rolled in off the Pacific Ocean and halted play at 4:21 p.m. local time. More than half the field did not complete the second round, necessitating a Saturday restart at 7:30 a.m.
Leaderboard:AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Spieth holds the clubhouse lead with Derek Fathauer, who has one hole to play at Pebble Beach. The front-page of the leaderboard also shows world No. 1 Jason Day (7 under with seven holes to play at Spyglass), Patrick Reed (7 under with one hole to play at the Shore Course), and Pat Perez (6 under with one hole to play at the Shore course).
“Putted a lot better today than yesterday, but conditions were also totally different. Feeling like I’ve been striking it well and been trying to do a lot of work with the putter. And we got some pure greens out here at Spyglass and I started to roll some putts in starting on the third hole of the day, No. 12,” said Spieth, who despite his sluggish starts finished T3, 3 and T9 in his first three starts. “So, got in a nice rhythm, the hole started to look big towards the end and very glad to finish with a nice (birdie) 3.”
The hole looked really small on the Shore Course, where Spieth said he was “grinding from one, two, three feet. And over here it felt like they were going to roll true. But MPCC’s have been great in the past too.
“Spyglass is always the purest in my opinion.”
After working hard on his putting this week – concentrating on his posture and making solid contact with the face of the putter – Spieth said he felt like he was in a zone on the greens, which doesn’t bode well for his colleagues.
“A little bit. I also had some 2-putt birdies. I made one long one on 4 and then a couple from 12 feet or so. But quite a few short ones,” he said. “I’ve been pretty dialed in, too, with my ball striking. I’m putting a little better than I did in my last three tournaments and that’s why we’re towards the top of the board. Striking it pretty much the same. I would like to continue to do so.”
He’ll do so as part of the celebrity wave that hits Pebble Beach on Saturday. And it looks like he will do so under sunny skies, which are in the forecast the next two days after a week of cloudy cover.
Saturday at Pebble is one of Spieth’s favorite days.
“Pebble is fun on Saturday,” he said. “Everyone is still playing. We got the celebrity rotation in this rotation. So a lot of cheers, a lot of laughs you can hear across Pebble and some of the holes crossing over there on the back nine makes for some fun. We should get an easier wind than what those guys had to deal with yesterday and even today over there.
“ … Pebble’s a gettable golf course when the wind’s not blowing. So, going to have to keep it rolling. It’s out there. You can throw darts. So you got to keep the pedal to the metal out there.”