SMBC SINGAPORE OPEN

Golf: Spieth tested by delay

Jordan Spieth of the USA, playing his sixth overseas tournament in nearly four months, preparing to tee off at the third hole yesterday. A reflective Spieth said he was "trying to do too much".
Jordan Spieth of the USA, playing his sixth overseas tournament in nearly four months, preparing to tee off at the third hole yesterday. A reflective Spieth said he was "trying to do too much". ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Tired Texan to complete crucial shot today as he tries to pressure front-runner Song

Jordan Spieth has had more than 15 hours to prepare for a five-foot birdie putt to set up a dramatic finish to the 2016 SMBC Singapore Open.

The world's top-ranked golfer was lining up for the crucial shot in front of packed galleries on Serapong's par-five 18th yesterday when play was halted due to rain.

Cue groans from the Texan - who buried his face in frustration under a blue polo tee - and the crowd of more than 3,000 who tailed the sport's hottest property across the Sentosa Golf Club.

 

He was four under through 17 holes and sat two strokes adrift of South Korean Song Young Han, who faces a tricky downhill putt to rescue par on the 16th.

The duo, and 10 others, will return at 7.30am today to complete the final round.

Spieth said: "It is what it is. I will come back and try and win this thing.

"My game really started to come together on the back nine. Assuming I make that putt on No. 18, that is going to put some pressure on the leader."

This Open has been a test of the 22-year-old's stamina and temperament, particularly after the four-hour rain delay yesterday - the third significant stoppage in four days.

The American already had to deal with a 7.30am start yesterday to complete two holes from his third round. In addition, he also faced an early start on Saturday after failing to finish his round on Friday.

He may be young and starting a new season, but Spieth spoke of feeling exhausted after a tied-fifth finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship the previous weekend.

The Singapore event is his sixth overseas tournament in nearly four months. In his last three seasons, he played 25 PGA Tour events on average - 10 more than world No. 3 Rory McIlroy.

There were signs of fatigue yesterday, just as there were moments of pure head-shaking brilliance that make him a must-have for tournament promoters across the globe.

On the 393m, par-four 15th, Spieth's tee shot landed in rough just next to a footpath.

Unable to see the pin, he asked for three advertising hoardings to be moved and fans to step back.

And then he stepped forward, firing a superlative approach shot to 12 feet, before sinking what had looked like an unlikely birdie.

It was an example of the first-rate scrambling that helped him clinch the US Open and Masters crowns last year.

But his disobedient putter also came to the fore, with four efforts either lipping out, falling inches short or sliding just wide of the pin on the undulating greens.

Speaking earlier in the day, Spieth admitted he was "not making (the) right decisions".

He added: "I am just rushing myself, trying to do too much and trying to think this golf course is going to yield an eight under like it's nothing,but it does not."

The American sensation has putted for bigger stakes in front of larger crowds, but this morning's shot could go down as the one that he had the most time to reflect on.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'SPIETH TESTED BY DELAY'. Print Edition | Subscribe