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lucasyun
lucasyun
77559
2413
2017-02-26

 

Fowler (65) takes 4-shot Honda lead

By

Will Gray

February 25, 2017, 6:07 pm

   

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The conditions were a little tougher during the third round of the Honda Classic, where one man pulled well clear of the field. Here’s how things look heading into the finale at PGA National, as Rickie Fowler has built a four-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Rickie Fowler (-13), Tyrrell Hatton (-9), Emiliano Grillo (-7), Wesley Bryan (-7), Martin Kaymer (-7), Sean O’Hair (-7), Gary Woodland (-7)

What it means: Fowler held the 36-hole lead at this event last year but faltered in Round 3. He was eager to flip the script this time around, turning a one-shot deficit into a two-shot lead as he made the turn. Fowler added to his margin from there and now sits on the cusp of his first worldwide win in over a year.

Round of the day: Brandon Hagy made the cut on the number and played in the first twosome of the day, but after a sizzling 64 he moved all the way into the top 10. Hagy finished strong, with birdies on four of his final seven holes to equal the low score of the week and move up 47 spots on the leaderboard.

Best of the rest: Fowler was flawless while playing in the penultimate group, one of three players to make it around the Champion Course without dropping a shot. He made three front-nine birdies to take sole possession of the lead, then capped things with an easy two-putt birdie on the last hole.

Biggest disappointment: It was a rough day for the co-leaders. Ryan Palmer now trails Fowler by seven shots after a 73 that featured only one birdie, while Bryan’s roller-coaster 72 included a watery double bogey on No. 15 that dropped him six shots off the pace.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: He’s been in this position before, but this is clearly Fowler’s tournament to lose. A four-shot lead gives him some wiggle room as winds are expected to blow, but this is as good an opportunity as Fowler can ask for to get his first PGA Tour win since 2015 at a de facto home game.

Shot of the day: Fowler was already well in front before he came to the par-5 18th, where he followed a 339-yard bomb off the tee with a 190-yard approach that found the green and settled within 20 feet of the hole to set up an easy birdie.

 

lucasyun
lucasyun
77558
2409
2017-02-26

'와이어투와이어+대회 최저타' 양희영, 혼다 LPGA 우승

 

양희영이 '혼다 LPGA 타일랜드' 우승을 차지했다.

양희영(28 PNS창호)은 2월26일(이하 한국시간) 태국 촌부리 시암 컨트리클럽(파72/6,642야드)에서 열린 2017시즌 미국여자프로골프(LPGA) 투어 세 번째 대회 '혼다 LPGA 타일랜드'(총상금 160만 달러, 한화 약 18억3,000만 원) 최종 라운드서 보기 없이 버디만 4개를 잡아 4언더파 68타를 쳤다.

최종 합계 22언더파 266타를 기록한 양희영은 2위 유소연을 5타 차로 따돌렸다.

양희영

양희영

이로써 양희영은 1라운드부터 최종 라운드까지 선두를 한 번도 놓치지 않은 '와이어 투 와이어' 우승을 달성했다.

지난 2015년 이 대회 우승 이후 우승이 없었던 양희영은 약 2년 만에 혼다 LPGA 타일랜드 우승을 탈환했으며, LPGA 통산 3승을 거뒀다.

양희영은 대회 최저타 기록도 세웠다. 혼다 LPGA 타일랜드는 2007년 수잔 페테르센(노르웨이)과 2010년 미야자토가 세운 21언더파 267타가 최저타다. 양희영이 1타를 경신했다.

이날 3라운드의 남은 5홀 잔여 경기도 치른 양희영은 2위 유소연에 5타 앞선 단독 선두를 기록한 상태였다.

양희영과 유소연은 챔피언 조에서 최종 라운드를 함께 치렀다. 양희영이 2번 홀(파4)에서 약 6미터 내리막 버디에 성공했지만, 유소연이 1,2번 홀에서 연속 버디를 잡으면서 격차는 4타 차로 좁혀졌다.

양희영이 7번 홀(파5)에서 두 번째 샷을 거의 그린 앞까지 보내 약 2미터 버디에 성공했고, 유소연이 9번 홀(파4)에서 두 번째 샷을 핀에 가깝게 붙여 버디를 잡으며 4타 차 격차가 유지됐다.

후반 홀은 유소연이 양희영을 흔드는 듯했다. 10번 홀(파5)에서 유소연의 세 번째 어프로치 샷이 그린을 살짝 벗어났다. 그러나 유소연은 그린 밖에서 버디를 잡으며 양희영을 3타 차로 압박했다.

유소연은 12번 홀(파3)에서 티샷 실수로 인해 보기를 적어냈지만 13번 홀(파4)에서 두 번째 샷을 핀 뒤에 바짝 붙여 1미터 버디를 잡아내며 다시 3타 차를 유지했다.

양희영은 14번 홀(파4)에서 어프로치 샷이 핀을 많이 지나쳤지만 4미터 슈퍼 파 세이브에 성공하며 우승 불씨를 살렸다. 이어 15번 홀(파4)에서 티샷을 그린에 올린 뒤 투퍼트로 여유있게 버디를 잡아 4타 차로 격차를 벌리며 우승을 예감했다.

양희영은 17번 홀(파4)에서 두 번째 샷이 벙커에 빠졌지만 환상적인 벙커샷으로 파 세이브에 성공, 이 홀에서 보기에 그친 유소연을 5타 차로 따돌렸다.

양희영은 마지막 18번 홀(파5)에서까지 버디를 잡고 최저타 기록을 쓰며 화려하게 피날레를 알렸다.

김세영(24 미래에셋자산운용)이 최종 합계 15언더파 273타 3위, 전인지(23), 디펜딩 챔피언 렉시 톰슨(22 미국)이 13언더파 275타 공동 4위를 기록하는 등 태극 낭자들이 상위권을 휩쓸었다.(사진=양희영)

뉴스엔 주미희 jmh0208@ / 표명중 acepyo@

기사제보 및 보도자료 [email protected]

lucasyun
lucasyun
77486
20019
2017-02-23

Still planning Mexico return, McIlroy plays with Trump

By

Ryan Lavner

February 20, 2017, 9:08 am

   

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Rory McIlroy is still planning to return at next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, his manager confirmed to GolfChannel.com on Monday.

McIlroy hasn’t played since Jan. 15, when he lost a playoff to Graeme Storm in the South African Open. The world No. 3 was later diagnosed with a stress fracture in his ribs. 

McIlroy targeted Mexico – a four-round, no-cut event, with a scheduled week off following the tournament – as his return date. 

“That’s still the plan,” McIlroy’s manager, Sean O’Flaherty, said in an email. “Rory is aiming to play next week in Mexico.” 



McIlroy told NoLayingUp.com that he played with President Donald Trump on Sunday in South Florida. McIlroy said he played off the forward tees but that his swing was nearly full speed. 

Big battle today at Trump International with Clear CEO Garry Singer @[email protected] @realDonaldTrump Drain the putt... pic.twitter.com/AZJqEVtlBT

— ClearSports (@ClearSportsLLC) February 19, 2017

Article Tags: 

Rory McIlroy, PGA Tour, WGC-Mexico Championship, Donald Trump

lucasyun
lucasyun
77482
6838
2017-02-23

News & Opinion

Inbee (thumb) ready for first start since Olympics

By

Associated Press

February 22, 2017, 3:21 pm

   

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The return home to Thailand for reigning Rolex Player of the Year Ariya Jutanugarn is just one of the things to watch this week as the LPGA begins its two-event Asia swing on Thursday with the 11th edition of the Honda LPGA Thailand.

The event at the Siam Country Club's Pitaya Old Course in Chonburi, Thailand, also will mark the return to the competition for South Korea's Inbee Park, who makes her first start on the LPGA since winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics. She missed the past six months after Rio while recovering from a left thumb injury.

The Honda LPGA Thailand boasts the strongest field of the season's first three tournaments with 18 of the top-20 ranked players in the Rolex Rankings set to compete. The golfers will play for a total purse of $1.6 million, with $240,000 going to the winner.

Joining Park, who is playing on a sponsors' invite, are top-ranked Lydia Ko or New Zealand, the Olympic silver medalist; second-ranked Jutanugarn; third-ranked Shanshan Feng of China, the Olympic bronze medalist; and fourth-ranked In Gee Chun of South Korea. Ko and Jutanugarn played last week in Australia, finishing in a tie for 46th and a tie for third, respectively.

Lexi Thompson, last year's runaway champion of this event, is also in the field. Thompson won by six strokes in 2016 for her seventh career title. She is the only American to win in the 10-year history of the event, and the victory allowed her to overtake Stacy Lewis as the top-ranked American in the world.

Taiwan's Yani Tseng, who is also in the field, is the only two-time champion of this event, winning in both 2011 and 2012.

Jutanugarn nearly won the Honda LPGA Thailand when she was 17 years old in 2013. Jutanugarn led heading into the final round, but with a triple bogey on the 18th hole, she dropped into the runner-up spot, which is still her best result at the event. She is still the only Thai champion on the women's elite circuit.

"I am ready for the Honda LPGA Thailand, which is a big tournament with a lot of world-class players," Jutanugarn said. "I want to win the title after coming close once, but I won't put extra pressure on myself. I will try to do my best."

Park, the former world No. 1 and a 17-time LPGA winner and seven-time major champion, won this event in 2013.

"I feel really good," Park said of her current health. "I haven't felt much pain at all for the last couple of months. I didn't touch a club after the Olympics for maybe four months. I started practicing in December, and obviously, with the injury, my swing has changed a little bit, so I'm trying to get that back to what I usually swung.

"I've had great results here in Thailand. This course really fits my eye. I really like to start the tournament with confidence obviously, and this tournament is a great event to test your game, so I love to be here."

Every time Tseng plays in Thailand, she stops by a temple in Bangkok to pray. She also is in the field by way of a sponsors' invite.

"It's good to be back in this country," Tseng said. "I've been coming here almost every year since I was an amateur at 15 or 16. I love this golf course. I'm just going to have fun and try to make as many birdies as I can."

Through two events in the LPGA's season-long Race to CME Globe, Brittany Lincicome and Ha Na Jang - winners of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, respectively - are tied atop the standings with 500 points apiece.

lucasyun
lucasyun
77471
2434
2017-02-22

<이성주의 건강편지>장하나의 우승이 값진 까닭은?

 

어제 호주 로열 애들레이드 골프장. 전날 1위였던 리젯 살라스와 공동 2위였던 오수현, 사라 제인 스미스, 포나농 파트룹 등이 흔들리는 사이에 14위였던 세계 랭킹 2위 아리야 주타누간이 쑥~ 올라왔습니다. 주타누간이 11번 홀 버디로 7언더가 되면서 공동1위가 되자 곧 우승컵을 들 것 같았습니다.

장하나가 2R 31위에서 3R 7위까지 올랐지만, 마지막 라운드에서 첫 홀 보기에 이어 파 행진만 하고 있어, 우승은 멀어 보였습니다. 모진 바람이 부는데다가 후반 홀들은 전반보다 더 어려웠기 때문에.

그러나 “골프는 장갑 벗기 전에 모른다”는 격언을 장하나가 보여줬습니다. 그는 13, 14번 홀에서 연속 버디를 낚더니, 17번 홀에서 15m 이글 퍼트에 성공하며 단독선두로 올랐습니다. 마지막 홀에서도 버디를 추가해서 2위와 3타 차로 올 첫 LPGA 대회 우승컵을 들어 올렸습니다.

일부 언론에서 ‘얼리 스타터’ 장하나의 우승을 알렸지만, 장하나가 얼리 스타터이기만 해서작년 초기 경기들에 우승하고 이후 부진했던 건 아니지요. 그는 지난해 코츠 골프 챔피언십(2월)과 HSBC 위민스 챔피언스(3월)에 우승하면서 활짝 나래를 펴려고 했지만, 키보드 워리어들의 표적이 됐습니다.

장 선수가 ‘검객 세리머니’를 한 뒤 영어 인터뷰 때 ‘사모라이’라고 한 것이 시발이었고, 장 선수 아버지의 짐이 공항 에스컬레이터에서 떨어져 전인지 선수가 다치면서 과녁이 됐습니다. 보기 민망한, 온갖 욕이 난무했습니다. 가슴에 수 만 개의 비수가 꽂혔습니다. 밤잠을 제대로 잘 수 있었을까요? 결국 달포 동안 투어를 접어야 했습니다. 리우 올림픽도 포기해야만 했지요.

다행히 자신과의 혹독한 싸움에서 이겨내고 10월 푸본 타이완 챔피언십에서 우승하고, 11월 토토 재팬 클래식에서 2위를 하며 재기했지만, 아직도 키보드 워리어들이 그녀를 따라 다니고 있습니다. 이번에 골프 팬들은 장하나의 재기발랄한 세리머니를 볼 수가 없었습니다. 프로 선수가 정성껏 준비한 세리머니를 보여주는 것도 하나의 서비스인데….

검객 세리머니를 영어권 기자들에게 쉽게 알려주려고 ‘사무라이 세리머니’라고 표현한 것이나 아버지의 실수로 동료선수가 다친 일이 이토록 떼거지로 ‘멍석말이’당할 일인지 저는….

그저께 리듬체조 선수 손연재가 은퇴를 선언했지요. 그 역시 끊임없이 악플러들의 공격에 시달렸습니다. 손연재 선수 스스로 김연아와 비교한 적이 없는데, 늘 ‘퀸’과 비교되며 비난받았습니다. 최순실 늘품체조에도 직접 관련된 것이 없는데도 비난의 표적이 됐습니다. 심지어 광고에 많이 나온다며….

왜 어떤 사람은 화풀이하면서 쾌감을 느낄까요? 군중 속에서 누군가를 비난하면서 자위할까요? 누군가 잘못을 하더라도 ‘타산지석’으로 삼아 자신의 발전으로 삼기 보다는….

어릴 때부터 학교나 가정에서 가르쳐줘야 합니다. 세상에서 가장 쉽고도 나쁜 것이 쉽게 남을 비난하는 것이고, 누군가의 숨겨진 장점을 배우는 것은 정말 어렵지만 보람 있는 일이라고. 남보다 자신을 보는 것이 훨씬 더 중요한 일이라고. 오늘 누구에겐가 그 말을 전하는 하루가 되기를 빕니다.

그나저나, 그 비수들이 꽂힌 가슴으로 정상에 오른 장하나 선수, 정말 대견합니다. 자신을 극복한 그 웃음 계속 이어지기를….

오늘의 건강팁 - 말에 대한 명언 10가지

말에 대한 명언들, 몇 번 소개해 드렸지만 보고 또 봐도 가슴에 와 닿습니다.

○말은 마음의 초상 ?J. 레이(폴란드 문학의 아버지)
○남의 입에서 나오는 말보다도 자기의 입에서 나오는 말을 잘 들어라. -탈무드(유대인의 율법서)
○말이 입힌 상처는 칼이 입힌 상처보다 깊다. -모로코 속담
○험담은 세 사람을 죽인다. 말하는 자, 험담의 대상자. 듣는 자. -미드라시(유대인의 종교해석서)
○말이 있기에 사람은 짐승보다 낫다. 그러나 바르게 말하지 않으면 짐승이 그대보다 나을 것이다. -사아디 무쓸라 알 딘(이란의 현자)
○아는 자는 말하지 않고, 말하는 자는 알지 못한다. 지자불언언자부지(知者不言言者不知) -노자
○개가 잘 짖는다고 해서 좋은 개라고 할 수 없듯, 사람이 말을 잘 한다고 해서 현자라고 할 수 없다. 구불이선폐위량, 인불이선언위현(狗不以善吠爲良, 人不以善言爲賢) -장자
○군자는 행동으로 말하고, 소인은 혀로 말한다. 군자이행언, 소인이설언(君子以行言, 小人以舌言) -공자
○군자는 행동보다 말이 앞서는 것을 부끄러워한다. 군자치기언지과기행(君子恥其言之過其行) -공자
○말하는 것은 지식의 영역이며 경청하는 것은 지혜의 특권이다. -올리버 웬델 홈스

<제 1092호 건강편지, 오열 등극 경악 참조>

lucasyun
lucasyun
77461
2413
2017-02-19

D. Johnson becomes world No. 1 with Genesis win

By

Will Gray

February 19, 2017, 7:48 pm

   

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It was a marathon day at waterlogged Riviera Country Club, but when the final putt dropped Dustin Johnson was atop both the leaderboard and the World Ranking. Here's how things ended up at the Genesis Open, where Johnson won by five shots:

Leaderboard: Dustin Johnson (-17), Thomas Pieters (-12), Scott Brown (-12), Justin Rose (-11), Wesley Bryan (-11), Kevin Na (-11), Charley Hoffman (-11)

What it means: Johnson started the morning with a lead, but he put the tournament out of reach with a third-round 64 that built his advantage to six shots. It allowed him to cruise to the finish line while challenging the tournament scoring record until a pair of back-nine bogeys. The victory vaults Johnson to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career and extends his streak to 10 straight seasons with at least one PGA Tour win.

Round of the day: Pieters had a Hazeltine flashback during the final round, channeling his masterful Ryder Cup performance en route to a closing 8-under 63. The Belgian had four birdies on each nine and failed to drop a shot, a performance that gave him his best finish in just his seventh career start on Tour.

Best of the rest: Martin Laird began his final round with an eagle on No. 1 and kept it going from there, carding a 5-under 66 that vaulted the Scot into a tie for eighth for his fourth top-10 finish of the young season. Laird made four birdies from Nos. 9-17 and would have finished even higher in the standings were it not for a 72nd-hole bogey.

Biggest disappointment: Jason Day didn't put up much of a fight as Johnson took the top spot in the OWGR away from him. The Aussie shot rounds of 75-71 during Sunday's marathon, dropping into a tie for 64th after he failed to break 70 in any round in L.A. despite the soft conditions.

Quote of the day: "It gives me a lot of confidence. It's going to push me to work even harder, try to get even better." - Johnson on becoming No. 1.

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Dustin Johnson, Genesis Open

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2017-02-19

Jang rallies to win Women's Aussie as Salas fades

By

Associated Press

February 19, 2017, 7:57 am

   

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ADELAIDE, Australia – Ha Na Jang had an eagle and three birdies over her last six holes in a superb finish Sunday that set up a three-shot victory in the Women's Australian Open.

''It's a really good, strong finish. That is why it's good sport today,'' the South Korean said after closing with a 4-under 69 to finish at 10 under at Royal Adelaide.

No. 6-ranked Jang regained her composure after opening with a bogey in the last round and finished three shots ahead of Nanna Madsen of Denmark, who finished with an even-par 73 for a 7-under total 285.


Full-field scores from the Women's Australian Open


''The first hole I was very nervous on the tee because I want to make birdie at every hole, more aggressive and try that,'' said Jang, who claimed her fourth LPGA title and her first of the year. ''After hole No. 1 it's really tough day.''

Haru Nomura, the 2016 champion, closed with a 73 to finish in a four-way tie for third place at 6 under with No. 2-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Australians Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith.

Lizette Salas started Sunday with a two-stroke lead but struggled in the last round and closed with a 5-over 78 to fade into a share of seventh place at 5 under with six others, including fellow Americans Beth Allen, Marina Alex and Canadian Maude-Aimee Leblanc in the LPGA event.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko, with a new coach and new clubs, finished well off the pace at 2 over with rounds of 71, 75, 73 and 75.

''It was my first tournament back,'' Ko said. ''I think there are a lot of positive things to look at rather than thinking 'hey, I shot over par.'''

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Lizette Salas, Ha Na Jang, 2017 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

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2017-02-18

Johnson leads by one through 36 holes at Riviera

By

Nick Menta

February 18, 2017, 7:05 pm

   

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After back-to-back rounds of 5-under 66, Dustin Johnson leads the Genesis Open by one shot after 36 holes and three days of play at Riviera. Two days of inclement weather in Los Angeles have Johnson and the rest of the field set for a marathon Sunday as the tournament attempts to avoid a Monday finish. Here's where things stand through two completed rounds at Riv:

Leaderboard: Johnson (-10), Pat Perez (-9), Cameron Tringale (-9), Jhonattan Vegas (-7), Patrick Rodgers (-7), J.T. Postan (-7), Scott Brown (-6), Charley Hoffman (-6), Luke Donald (-6), Kevin Na (-6)

What it means: Johnson is 36 holes from his 13th PGA Tour victory and the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. With a victory, Johnson can unseat current No. 1 Jason Day should Day also finish in a three-way tie for third or worse. It should come as no surprise that Johnson is yet again contending for the title at Riviera. In nine previous starts, he has six top-10 finishes with two runner-ups, including a 2015 playoff loss to James Hahn. In addition to netting Johnson the No. 1 ranking, a win would further extend his PGA Tour-longest streak of consecutive seasons with a victory to 10. Currently, the only two players since 1960 to win in each of their first 10 seasons after turning pro are guys named Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Round of the day: Cameron Tringale made seven birdies in a bogey-free round of 64 to move into a tie for second, one shot behind Johnson. He capped off his round in style at the 18th hole, holing out from 82 yards for a birdie-3 after hacking out of the right rough on his second shot.

Best of the rest: Johnson, Perez and Kyle Stanley signed for 66. Johnson has been mistake-free for 23 holes and owns the most bogey-free rounds (five) and most rounds of 66 or better (eight) by any player at Riviera since 2008.

Biggest disappointment: First-round leader Sam Saunders followed up a 64 with a 77 on Saturday. Saunders will play the final two rounds, but notable names to miss the even-par cut include Tony Finau (+1), Ryan Moore (+2), Brandt Snedeker (+2), Billy Horschel (+3), Brooks Koepka (+5), and Hideki Matusyama (+6).

Shot of the day: Tringale's hole-out from 82 yards at 18:

That's how to finish with an exclamation point.

And a dunk. #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/6de0tm1eun

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 18, 2017

Quote of the day: “I want to put myself in a position to win this golf tournament. That's really all I care about is what it takes to get it done here. The rest of the stuff, the points and world golf rankings, I would like to get there, but I'm not worried about it.” - Johnson

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Dustin Johnson, Official World Golf Ranking, Jason Day, 2017 Genesis Open

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2017-02-12

Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble win

By

Ryan Lavner

February 12, 2017, 9:04 pm

   

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Boring golf was the plan, and it produced a thrilling result.

Staked to a six-shot lead, Jordan Spieth’s only goal Sunday was to hit as many greens as possible in the final round. He found 17 of them, making two birdies and zero mistakes, stiff-arming the field and winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by four shots for his first PGA Tour title in nine months.

“Tee to green,” he said, “it was exactly what I was looking for.”

With all of the discussion about the game’s young stars, Spieth issued a timely reminder of his standing in the sport. At 23, he’s the second-youngest player in the modern era to win nine Tour events, behind only Tiger Woods. Comparisons to Woods are best viewed with context – Spieth has nine wins in 100 Tour starts; Woods had 28 in that span – but Spieth’s sustained excellence somehow seems underappreciated in today’s what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? sports culture. He’s a historically great player.

“He’s what you call the greatest player in the world right now,” said Jake Owen, his amateur partner this week. “He’s going to be really hard to beat for a lot of years, because it’s not just his golf swing. It’s what’s between his ears. He does not stop. He’s always there for the win. He’s dominating these guys mentally.”


AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Articles, photos and videos


After a few learning experiences early in his career, Spieth has turned into a reliable closer. Seven of the past eight times he’s held the 54-hole lead, he went on to win. The only time he didn’t? Yeah, it was a biggie – last year’s Masters – but it’s a testament to his resolve, and his short-term memory, that he’s 2-for-2 since then. What’s more, he has posted 13 consecutive under-par final rounds on Tour, and his Sunday scoring average since July is a shade over 67.

Here at Pebble, Spieth’s six-shot lead was sliced in half, but he remained in total control, putting for birdie on all but one hole. Caddie Michael Greller reminded Spieth to "keep playing boring golf," and he did.

“This was as well as I’ve struck the ball closing a tournament, I think ever,” Spieth said. “The only stress I had was why the birdie putts weren’t going in. That’s awesome. I can take that going forward.”

Added Greller: “He knows what to do, and it was good to see him have those feelings and respond how he has historically under pressure.”

Still, it felt like a long time coming for Spieth, who hadn’t won on Tour since Colonial last May. Coming off a historic season, 2016 was bound to be a transitional year, a time when Spieth found his footing as a global superstar, when he was, Greller said, "the hunted instead of the hunter."

There were growing pains, no doubt. Spieth’s swing didn’t always cooperate, and his patience was tested, and he grew frustrated with the media and himself for trying to compare the two seasons, 2015 and ’16. But last year he still won three worldwide titles and could have – should have – added another major. For all of the handwringing about Spieth’s game, only Hideki Matsuyama collected more hardware a year ago.

At times, only Spieth could see the big picture.

“If this is a valley,” he said on more than one occasion, “then it’s going to be a lot of fun when we get back up to a peak.”

And so it was Sunday at Pebble Beach, where under a bright blue sky Spieth teamed with Owen, helping the country-music star with lines off the tee and reads on the green. They had a blast all four days, but in the final round Spieth grew mildly frustrated when his speed control was off. He even apologized to Owen on the 17th tee, for not being as social as usual.

“I’m kind of grinding a little bit,” Spieth said.

“Yeah, man,” Owen said with a laugh, “what’s up with that?”

But 10 minutes later, Spieth was all smiles. Owen overheard Spieth giving himself a pep talk as he lined up his 30-footer.

“All right, come on,” Spieth muttered. “This is the one. This one’s going in. You’re due.”

The birdie putt dropped, pushing Spieth’s lead to the final margin of victory, four shots over Kelly Kraft.

“Dude, you called that!” Owen said, walking off the green. “I knew that was going in once you were calling it!”

“I’m glad you knew it was going in,” Spieth replied. “I was just trying to hit it the right speed.”

One of Spieth’s goals for this year was to enjoy the process more, to smile on the course, to remember that he’s living out his dream. They’re little things that are easily forgotten during the grind of a 25-tournament schedule, but further proof that Spieth is growing more comfortable in his own skin.

He has reached an understanding that, in all likelihood, he will never again duplicate his two-major 2015 season, because it requires exceptional play, yes, but also some good fortune.

“But that kind of play can be the normal for me,” he said, “because I’ve seen it before. It can happen again.”

And so far, it has. In 2015, Spieth ranked in the top 15 in strokes-gained driving, approaches, short game and putting. It was clinical. But Spieth’s ball-striking tailed off last season, and he said he worked as hard as he ever has during the offseason with swing coach Cameron McCormick.

“He’s always hungry,” Greller said. “He’s not somebody who is ever going to coast. It’s fun to work for a guy like that. Always hungry. Always driven.”

The hard work has paid off. Though he has bemoaned a cold putter – the middle two rounds boosted his confidence, pouring in putts on spongy, bumpy greens – Spieth has been one of the best iron players on Tour and ranks inside the top 10 in strokes gained overall.

“People think it’s only his putter,” Greller said, “but he’s incredibly well-rounded when you really break down the stats.”

This has been the best start of Spieth’s five-year career. Pebble was his fourth consecutive top-10, and he’s now played all 16 of his rounds under par.

“It’s validation of all the hard work he’s put in this offseason,” Greller said.

And now another peak is in sight.

Article Tags: 

Jordan Spieth, 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

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