July 13, 2014
By Craig DeVrieze, for PGATOUR.COM, PGATOUR.COM
- Jordan Spieth is playing in his second Open Championship. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
SILVIS, Ill. – An almost literal repeat of last year’s fast-closing victory at the John Deere Classic crossed Jordan Spieth’s mind when he closed to within three shots of the lead with a birdie at the Deere Run’s drive-able par 4 13th.
When it was clear an hour later that a magical comeback wasn’t in the cards – by then, Brian Harman was well on his way to becoming the 20th first-time winner in John Deere Classic history – Spieth found himself partly hoping for a chance at least to repeat the memorable greenside bunker hole-out that propelled his first and only win to date.
“It was awesome,’’ the youngest defending champion on the PGA TOUR in eight decades said of his walk up the 18th hole amphitheater to enthusiastic applause. “When I hit my second shot, I thought it was going in the bunker again. When it actually went onto the green, I said ‘Man, I wanted to hit that bunker shot again.’ That would have been fun with the crowd. “
Spieth finished with a 5-under round of 66 and scored a share of seventh place at 16-under 268. Save for an opening round of even-par 71 that required birdies on two of the final three weeks, Spieth declared his week a success.
Looking toward next week’s Open Championship, he said he was particularly pleased to feel the heat of contention late on Sunday.
“A lot of good came out of today as far as my ball-striking going into next week,” he said. “Putting wise, it was nice to get into contention, to feel a little nerves. I felt like I could have birdied the last three and had a chance. It was nice to feel those nerves and have that feeling going into next week.”
Following a T2 at the Masters Tournament and a T17 at the U.S. Open, Spieth is eager to contend at Royal Liverpool Golf Course in Hoylake, England, next week.
“I feel a lot more ready right now than I did off the 18th hole here yesterday,” he said. “In 12 hours here, I’m going to be back on the driving range. I feel great. I was working on a lot of things the last few weeks in my ball-striking. And as long as I can peak for next week, all in all this was a great week.”
Jordan Spieth’s approach sets up birdie at John Deere