Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 17th 2015 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, April 17, 2015
HILTON HEAD ISLAND---Jordan
Spieth had a post-Masters letdown
Thursday, shooting a 3-over 74 at
the RBC Heritage to end his run of
16 straight rounds under par.
Spieth vowed his whirlwind, two-
day celebration tour of New York
after winning the green jacket Sun-
day wouldn t affect his focus. But it
was apparent early on at Harbour
Town that Spieth was not at his
Augusta National best.
Spieth was visibly frustrated on
the eighth hole when his second shot
from pine straw landed well short
of the green.
The 21-year-old Texan was eight
shots behind leaders Graeme
McDowell and Matt Every, who were
at 5-under 66. Spieth will need sig-
nificant improvement Friday to make
his eighth consecutive cut.
"Got a good feeling about tomor-
row," Spieth said. "Feel like I got
some swings in, got in somewhat of
a rhythm and can at least go out
and feel the shots. It was just an off
day and it happens."
It can happen more often after a
few days like Spieth had.
He got into Sea Pines Resort late
Tuesday night after some 25 appear-
ances and interviews in New York,
including an appearance with David
Letterman and seeing the view atop
the Empire State Building.
He acknowledged his preparation
this week had suffered, but vowed
not to have the major hangover sev-
eral champions have when playing
so soon after such success.
Spieth was greeted by a large
gallery on the first tee, crowds five
and six deep stretching cellphones
to snap pictures and get video
footage. "Way to go, Jordan," some-
one shouted after his tee shot.
The applause continued
throughout the round and, while
Spieth appreciated the sentiment,
had difficulty concentrating on his
"I was upset about missing the
green and then there was a standing
ovation walking up," he said.
"It s like, Thank you. I just hit a
terrible shot. Thanks. So it was kind
of tough to find the balance there."
It was clear, though, this would
not be the Spieth who tied the Mas-
ters scoring mark of 18-under 270
set by Tiger Woods in 1997.
He was in perfect position on the
par-5 second, which played the eas-
iest in round one, when he left his
approach shot short and in the
bunker. Spieth could not make an
8-footer to save birdie. He was short
of the green again on the par-4 sixth
hole, leading to the first of three
bogeys---Spieth had just one bogey
in his first 36 holes at Augusta
"There s no excuses," he said.
The wheels truly came off at the
par-3 14th when Spieth hit into the
water and watched his third shot
spin back about 15 feet from the cup.
He made a double-bogey 5.
Spieth entered the week with four
straight top-two finishes, also win-
ning the Valspar Championship in
a playoff at Innisbrock, finishing
second in the Texas Open and losing
in a playoff in the Houston Open.
He hasn t had many days like this
in 2015 --- and neither had McDowell,
who hadn t shot lower than 71 in
his previous 12 rounds, including all
four at last week s Masters when he
tied for 52nd.
McDowell, though, found his game
on the layout s tight fairways and
small greens. He had six birdies after
an opening bogey to move in front.
"It was great to feel comfortable
out there today, see my lines, hit my
speeds and make a few putts," said
McDowell, who has not won on tour
since taking this title in 2013.
It s been a strange season for Every,
who won the Arnold Palmer Invi-
tational last month yet hadn t fin-
ished better than 27th in any of his
11 other events.
He had birdies on four of his final
eight holes, including a 50-foot chip
in on the sixth hole and a 20-foot
chip in on the seventh, to tie
McDowell. Every stayed in the lead
when he chipped to a foot on the
eighth hole to save par.
"I ll take it any way I can get it,"
After Bae, defending champion
Matt Kuchar led a group of five
another stroke back at 68.
Ian Poulter and former British
Open winner Louis Oosthuizen were
Spieth struggles in first round after Masters
Jordan Spieth tees off on the first
hole during the first round of the RBC
Heritage Classic, yesterday at
Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton
Head Island, South Carolina. AP PHOTO
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