A big win at stake for Jordan Spieth, Matt Wallace at the Valero Texas Open
April 03, 2021
By Kevin Robbins, PGATOUR.COM
- April 03, 2021
Jordan Spieth’s Round 3 highlights from Valero
Neither mentioned the personal stakes. One wants to win for the first time in 83 starts on the PGA TOUR. The other wants to win for the first time period.
The last group in the final round of the oldest professional tournament in Texas, the one celebrating its 99th year on the TOUR, will feature Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace at 12 under par, with Charley Hoffman two strokes behind them. Spieth, a Texan seeking his first Valero Texas Open, looks to summon the brilliance of his first five seasons, when he won 11 times, including three majors. Wallace, an Englishman with 36 TOUR starts since 2017, has never finished better than third. Hoffman has no victories since the 2016. That was right here at TPC San Antonio, in the sixth-oldest professional golf tournament in the world.
The three of them separated themselves on a cool, gloomy afternoon after rain postponed play for two and a half hours. Spieth and Wallace shot 5-under 67. Hoffman shot 65.
They played the back nine in a combined 14 strokes under par, which bodes well for those who believe in momentum carried over.
Spieth has had his opportunities in a resurgent 2021 season. He held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, his first since 2018. He finished tied for fourth. He did the same thing a week later, at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but this time he had the 36-hole, too. He tied for third there.
“I was pretty anxious to start that next day” in Phoenix, said Spieth, whose struggles since 2017 have been documented well and discussed widely, including after his even-par 72 in the fourth round in the desert. “I felt really calm at Pebble,” he said, “and then been in contention a few times since.”
In his five starts in stroke-play tournaments since a missed cut in January at the Farmers Insurance Open, Spieth has had a reasonable chance to win four (he tied for 48th at THE PLAYERS Championship). In every one of them, he failed to break 70 in the final round. That pattern must end.
“The goal this week was to get myself into contention and have a chance to win,” Spieth said. “The next goal is to try and get myself into position to be in control on the back nine.”
Jordan Spieth’s insane flop shot saves birdie on No. 17 at Valero
Wallace knows and accepts that spectators at the Valero Texas Open, even in modest numbers in a pandemic, unanimously agitate for a Texan to prevail — or maybe even Hoffman, a Californian who, since 2006, has four finishes here inside the Top Five and six inside the Top 10.
“Hopefully I won over some fans there today,” Wallace said.
Wallace, 30, has four international victories, all of them on the European Tour, but none in the U.S.
“There’s times in rounds where you know you need to make things happen and know you need to hole a putt at the right time,” he said.
“So I’ll prepare myself for that and I’ll think of the good stuff,” he added. “That I’ve holed putts this week. I’ve pulled shots off.”
The winner of the Valero Texas Open gets a pair of Lucchese boots — crafted in Texas since 1883. Those are stakes of a different shape.
The player who holes the most putts, pulls off the shots and produces enough of the good stuff gets to try them on for size.