Sport Golf

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Spieth's 'quad' woe sees him fall down leaderboard

Jordan Spieth. Photo:Getty Images
Jordan Spieth. Photo:Getty Images

Phil Casey

Seven birdies and three bogeys had looked set to get Jordan Spieth in contention at the Sony Open - before he took a disastrous eight on his penultimate hole in Hawaii.

The three-time Major winner even managed to make the quadruple bogey without taking a penalty stroke as he hacked his way up the left-side of the 454-yard par 4 before eventually signing for an eight which left him on level par for the tournament before a bounce-back birdie at the last and an eventful round of one-under, 69.

The implosion left him six shots off early clubhouse leader Chris Kirk, with fellow Americans Kyle Stanley and Vaughn Taylor one shot further back on six under par.

Elsewhere. South Africa's Branden Grace lived up to his billing as pre-tournament favourite by claiming a share of the lead after the first round of the BMW SA Open in Johannesburg.

Grace carded three eagles, three birdies and two bogeys in an opening 65 at Glendower Country Club to join American Chase Koepka at the top of the leaderboard on seven under par.

"I can't remember when, or if, I've ever made three eagles in a round but it was fun," said Grace, who eagled the second, eighth and 15th, all of them par fives.

"I was a little bit rusty with some of the wedge shots but all in all very pleased with the outcome and I think I pretty much got the most out of that round.

"It's a great start to 2018 and it's always nice to play back in South Africa. The people are here to support us and it's great to have all the top South African guys here."

Koepka, whose brother Brooks won the US Open last year, had set the early clubhouse target after a round containing seven birdies, an eagle and two bogeys, with England's Chris Paisley a shot off the pace following a 66.

"I think I played flawless except for the second shot to the first hole," Koepka said. "I hit a poor shot and saved about a 12-footer for bogey there so it was big to start off my round.

Double

"Starting off with a double in a tournament doesn't feel good; making that bogey I felt like I at least picked up a shot because it could have been worse. Then I hit a nice shot to the second and made eagle and kind of kept it rolling from there."

Paisley, who is seeking his first European Tour title, said: "I'm really happy coming off five weeks off. You never know how it's going to go, even though I've been playing well in practice."

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who blew a four-shot lead with five holes to play in this event three years ago, is four shots off the lead after an opening 69.

Irish Independent

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