Though he fails to convert a 54-hole lead for 2nd week in a row, Spieth claims to be 'as confident as I've been in a long time'
Spieth birdied his final two holes Sunday at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links to shoot 2-under 70 and tie for third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, three strokes behind winner Daniel Berger (scores).
Spieth has not won in 3½ years, since claiming the 2017 British Open for his third major championship before age 25. But after a T-4 one week earlier at the Phoenix Open, when he entered the final round at TPC Scottsdale with a share of the lead before stumbling to a 1-over 72, he is getting closer to ending a prolonged slump.
“I had control of my destiny today and had enough opportunities, even though Daniel shot 7 under,” Spieth said.
Despite the disappointment in not winning a 12th PGA Tour title, Spieth knows that he has taken big strides since missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks earlier.
“If I look back at Friday night of San Diego and you tell me I was going to share the 54[-hole lead] and have the 54-hole lead two weeks in a row and really just fight, finish strong to both weeks, I would have said you're crazy, to be honest,” Spieth said. “I was not in a great head space following that missed cut there and just did some really phenomenal work from Sunday through Wednesday of last week that was probably the best period of a few days of work that I've put in a long time. It just got me believing in what I was doing and progressing forward. That's really what I continue to say is, just progressing forward.
"If I put myself in the position of leading after 54 holes enough times, especially with how I know I'm going to fight even if it's not going my way, I'll end up on top one of these days.”
Spieth started the final round at 13 under and with a two-stroke lead. When he exited the third green after failing to save par from a bunkered drive, he was even with Berger, who played the first three holes 3 under after an eagle on the par-5 second hole. Spieth offset two birdies with two bogeys through the 16th hole before he birdied the final two holes to share third place with Patrick Cantlay, one shot behind runner-up Maverick McNealy.
Spieth displayed some theatrics throughout the week. He holed out twice for eagle: from 113 yards with a wedge at the par-4 No. 10 hole on Thursday and from 160 yards with an 8-iron at the par-4 No. 16 on Saturday (scores).
“I'm as confident as I've been in a long time, not only the current outlook but also looking forward,” Spieth said. “So, it's still mechanics. It's still dragging on. It's still going too long and therefore getting late into the ball, and I made some really, really good swings this week under pressure and I made some not-so-good swings under pressure. There were more good ones than there were last week.”
This week, Spieth will head south to Pacific Palisades for the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. Spieth hasn’t won at Riviera as a professional, but he can tap some good memories of the 1926 George Thomas-William Bell design. As a college freshman at Texas, Spieth and his Longhorns won the 2012 NCAA title at Riviera. He turned professional after the fall semester of his sophomore year.
“So, as I go into next week at arguably my favorite golf course in the world, at Riviera, I look to have more swings that I know are getting into position, hitting the spots I know that I can kind of turn and burn from than I had this week.”
Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.