Full Spieth ahead for three-component putts

AKRON (Ohio) • Jordan Spieth, who won the British Open at Royal Birkdale, was at it again in Thursday's opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

He sank two long-range birdie putts back to back, including a 50-footer, to turn an ordinary round into a tie for third, two strokes off the pace after a three-under 67 at Firestone Country Club.

Belgian Thomas Pieters shot a five-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Russell Knox of Scotland.

Spieth explained his putting technique to the Golf Channel: "I'm reading them in three (parts). I have a really good process in the way that I read them in order to hit it with the right speed.

"So I get somewhere near the right line, obviously it's a bit of luck for it to go in from that distance. There are so many other factors."

After reading the beginning, middle and end of the putt's route, speed is the critical component.

"But if you hit it with the right pace, somewhere near the right line and you're going to scare the hole," he added.

"That's a lot easier said than done, but when my pace starts to feel good, when I start to get that really dialled in, that's when they'll start going in."

Spieth's 67 came in his first round since his Birkdale victory. Since then he has celebrated his 24th birthday, and said he is not ready to move past the British Open triumph even though he now faces the chance to complete a career Grand Slam at a record age in next week's PGA Championship.

He could join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen on the select list of those who have won the Masters, US and British Opens and the PGA.

Winning next week would give Spieth - who captured the 2015 Masters and US Open - the career Slam at 24 years and 17 days, surpassing Woods, who was 24 years and six months when he won the 2000 British Open to complete his career Slam.

"I won't put it behind me. I plan on continuing the celebration as long as I can until I wear it out," Spieth said.

"But obviously, the focus is back on golf this week, trying to put together four rounds where I continue to improve each round as we head into the year's last Major."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL

Day 3: Singtel TV Ch116 & StarHub Ch210, 11.59pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2017, with the headline 'Full Spieth ahead for three-component putts'. Print Edition | Subscribe