Sport Golf

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Spieth happy to bounce back after early woes

World number one Jordan Spieth was happy to bounce back from early problems
World number one Jordan Spieth was happy to bounce back from early problems

William S Callahan

Jordan Spieth mixed the good, bad and indifferent to maintain his challenge for a successful defence of his Hero World Challenge title in the Bahamas yesterday.

Spieth showed his human side as he swung away in disgust after his second shot to 18 finished wide to the right.

For an instant, it looked as if he was going to hurl his golf club away, but he held on to it.

And then, typical of the talent that the world No 1 possesses, he got up and down for a saving par four and a 66 that moved him to 11 under par and joint leadership of the tournament.

Spieth started par, birdie, and briefly thought his 7-iron shot to the par-three second would yield another ace to match his achievement at the hole on Thursday.

The ball finished just short for a welcome tap-in birdie.

"This was a 7-iron. Yesterday was a six. We're a little up (forward tee) and there was less wind, so I said 'do it again'," said Spieth.

"It looked pretty good in the air and it ended up coming down to a very makeable length."

Most unwelcome were bogeys on the third and the fifth holes before normal service was resumed. He holed long putts for birdie on the sixth, seventh, and eighth holes and landed a 30-footer for eagle three at the 11th.

Further birdies followed on the 13th and 14th and Spieth made good par saves on 16, 17 and 18.

"I had a rough start but boy, it was a great bounce-back after being one over through five holes, so I'm actually very pleased with it," said Spieth.

Bill Haas and Jimmy Walker also got to 11 under par, scoring 66 and 67 respectively.


Meanwhile, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett starred in their own version of television hospital drama Casualty in the second round of the €6.1m Nedbank Challenge at Sun City, South Africa yesterday.

Ryder Cup star Stenson amazed even himself by getting to the first tee on Thursday and again yesterday as he felt the effects of three days in bed due to illness earlier in the week.

But the old maxim 'beware the injured golfer' certainly came true as Stenson carded a 67 to follow his first-round 66 for a one-shot lead at 11 under par ahead of nearest challenger Jacob Van Zyl of South Africa.

Defending champion Willett struggled from early on with a back injury.

He kept trying to stretch it out and received some brief physio assistance but the restrictions showed in his front nine score as he turned in 40.

A weather delay of two hours and 11 minutes gave Stenson and Willett some much needed breathing space.

The Englishman steadied the ship and reeled off eight pars and a birdie on the inward half to sign for a 75.

This was eight shots worse than his opening score, but he looked more comfortable than earlier in the day.

Shane Lowry shot 71 to lie one over par overall and tied for 22nd place in the 30-man field.

Elsewhere, Paul Dunne shot 75 in the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines Resort in Queensland to make the cut at three over par as Kevin Phelan missed out on nine over.

David Lingmerth, Swedish-born but based in the USA, held the 36-hole lead at three under par.

Nedbank Golf Challenge

Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0am

Hero World Challenge

Live, Sky Sports 4, 5.0pm

Irish Independent

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