PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Notes and observations from Sunday’s final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, with Jordan Spieth shooting a bogey-free 70 while cruising to a four-shot win. For more coverage, click here for the Daily Wrap-up.
SPIETH'S BIGGEST SHOT
Jordan Spieth reached his ball, barely visible in the rough down the left side of the par-4 eighth fairway, and cringed. He flipped the bottle of water he had been sipping on toward his bag and gave caddie Michael Greller a status report. “Awful lie,” he said.
At that point, playing partner Brandt Snedeker had reduced Spieth’s lead from six shots to start the day to just four. Certainly no time to hit the panic button yet, but if there was ever a point the round might get away from him and provided a glimmer of hope to his pursuers, this was it.
Spieth contemplated his options. He had 210 yards to the hole, a breeze coming from his left, and, of course, that nasty lie. He had been a bit unlucky there – his tee shot had hit a spectator and dropped into the thick stuff instead of tracking into the trampled area beyond.
He pulled a hybrid, lined up toward the left bunker and played a little cut. “It wasn’t necessarily the smartest play,” he acknowledged later.
No worries. Spieth found the green, his ball settling 21 feet, 5 inches from the pin. He two-putted for par, kept his four-shot lead and kept hitting greens after that. (In all, he hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation). Though Kelly Kraft would climb within three shots on the back nine, Spieth never really sweated coming in as he cruised to his first AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am win and the ninth of his career.
“I’m not sure if it was on camera or not, but I was very, very excited once the ball landed on the green,” Spieth said about that decisive approach at 8. “That was really avoiding a big number there. That could have been a double or triple very, very easily if that doesn’t come out the right way.
“So that was the shot of the day for me.”
MAYBE HE WON IT ON THURSDAY
Spieth shot consecutive 65s in his middle two rounds and rarely put himself in danger on Sunday. But he likely won this tournament on Thursday when he shot a 3-under 68 in horrible weather conditions at Monterey Peninsula.
And the best shot of the entire week may have come at the 176-yard par-3 11th. His 4-iron into the wind landed inside 5 feet. Spieth missed the birdie putt, but for his amateur partner Jake Owen, it was an early indicator that Spieth had brought his “A” game.
“The most amazing shot I’ve seen,” Owen said. “I grew up playing competitive golf. There’s a reason I’m not playing professionally and there’s a reason guys like him are – and it’s shot like that. …
“At that moment, I knew he had come to play.”
Spieth, looking back on the week, knew that Thursday’s round was special.
“That was the best I’ve ever hit the ball in those kinds of conditions and it was my best ball-striking day of the week, I think,” Spieth said. “We had a really tough go when we caught the worst of the weather, too, right along the coast there at Monterey on 10 through 13. So that was really nice to play those holes pretty well, given the conditions.
KRAFT’S BEST RESULT
Kelly Kraft was 15 under and three shots behind Spieth through 11 holes. Catching his good friend would be difficult, but Kraft had the hot hand. But just as quickly, he cooled off. He parred in to finish a 5-under 67 that left him in solo second – the best finish of his 41 PGA TOUR starts.
The top-10 finish allows him to play in next week’s Genesis Open at Riviera.
“I would’ve liked to have made a few more putts on the back nine today to add a little pressure,” Kraft said, “but I couldn’t make any putts really coming down the stretch. It was a good day. It was nice to get off to that hot start and kind of set the tone for the day.”
While Kraft didn’t beat Spieth in the tournament this week, he did manage to win a friendly Tuesday game, teaming with Kevin Tway to win a few bucks off Spieth and Beau Hossler.
CALL OF THE DAY
SIGNIFICANT PAR ON 18
Kraft wasn’t the only player to play his way into the Genesis Open. Rob Oppenheim, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, also gained a spot at Riviera thanks to his tie for eighth after a final-round 72.
Oppenheim had to manage a tricky situation on his final hole. His tee shot found the bunker, and left him a difficult second. After pitching out, his third shot landed next to the root of a tree to the right of the green. He managed to get up and down to save par and save his position inside the top 10.
The ability to come up with a clutch par should serve him well as he tries to gain status on TOUR.
“Having things like that is nice just to store in your memory bank,” Oppenheim said. “You know that you can look back and say, Hey, I did have a putt on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach that meant something, and to make it – it always feels good.”
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Jason Day's eagle hole out is the Shot of the Day
ODDS AND ENDS
Brandt Snedeker entered the day as Spieth’s closest chaser, but after three birdies in his first six holes, he could manage nothing else. He bogeyed the ninth, then parred in from there. “I really felt like something special was going to happen,” the two-time AT&T Pebble Beach champ said. “And for whatever reason, putts just didn’t want to go in today.” …
Gary Woodland had the low round of the day, a 7-under 65, to claim a tie for fifth. He had 10 birdies on his round – a career-high. “I didn’t even know it until I just heard it,” Woodland said. “Obviously, that was a career best for me. Now it’s on to try to make it 11.” …
Ken Duke and TV personality Carson Daly took the team title at 33 under, winning by two strokes over Kevin Streelman and Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald.
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Congrats to @JordanSpieth on an impressive W! Some great, great golf of late.. Only a matter of time before a win. Headed back to Maui!— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) February 12, 2017