Jordan Spieth gets lucky break to make PLAYERS cut
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Calif. – Fans of the full Jordan Spieth Experience would have enjoyed his final hole Friday, which he eagled to ensure he’d play the weekend of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Spieth chipped in for eagle on TPC Sawgrass’ par-5 ninth hole, a display of short-game acumen made possible by the lucky break that preceded it. Spieth’s tee shot was headed toward water before bouncing off a spectator’s knee and back into the fairway.
That allowed him to hit his second shot on TPC Sawgrass’ longest hole up by the green, setting up his hole-out.
Jordan Spieth holes clutch chip shot for eagle after lucky break at THE PLAYERS
“My left foot grabbed as I was transitioning, like pain, and I backed off and I thinned one,” Spieth said about the tee shot. “A lot of times I kind of feel bad about (hitting someone) and don't focus on the next shot, but I hit a 3-wood exactly where I wanted to and hit a chip exactly where I wanted to, so I'm very happy about rebounding from that.”
Spieth said he was searching for the fan’s contact information “because everything from here on out is because it hit him.” Players who make the cut at THE PLAYERS, which has a TOUR-record purse of $25 million, are looking a paycheck of at least $40,000.
With his eagle at the last, Spieth shot 75 to finish two rounds at even par. This is just Spieth’s third made cut in his last eight appearances at TPC Sawgrass. He reached 5 under par for the tournament with birdies on his first two holes Friday, but he bogeyed the 13th hole and made double at the next after driving into a bush. He made two bogeys and another double on the back nine before his eagle at the last.
Where the cut line would fall had not been determined when play was called for inclement weather around 4:30 p.m. Friday. There were 67 players at 1 over or lower; the top 65 and ties advance to the final two rounds. The interested observers ranged from Will Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele, who both finished 1 over, to 56-year-old Jerry Kelly, who still has a chance to become the oldest player to make the cut in THE PLAYERS history.
Kelly bogeyed the 18th hole Friday to shoot 72 and finish two rounds at 2 over par. Justin Thomas, the 2021 PLAYERS champ, also finished 2 over.
Kelly is in the field as winner of the Kaulig Companies Championship, formerly known as the Senior PLAYERS. He would be just the second Kaulig champ to make the cut in the 17 years that player has been invited to THE PLAYERS (Mark O’Meara did it in 2011, finishing 74th).