Spieth misses cut, loses No.1 ranking

EDISON (New Jersey) • Jordan Spieth knocked on history's door a few times this year. But , on Friday, he entered the record books for the wrong reasons.

At The Barclays, the 22-year-old became the first golfer to miss the cut in his first career start as world No. 1.

And, just like that, the Masters and US Open champion's reign as the top player ended after two weeks, with Rory McIlroy set to return to the summit.

Spieth added a three-over 73 that included a one-stroke penalty for stepping on his ball in a hazard to his opening 74 to finish five shots from the cut. It was set at two over par at Plainfield Country Club.

"Yeah, tough week. I'm definitely searching for answers," said the American who will next play at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

It is the second stop of the four-event FedExCup play-offs.

"I don't know exactly what I'm going to do from here as far as how I get prepared for next week but I have some time to figure it out."

As for losing his top ranking, he said: "I've reached that peak already and I know it's going to be close enough to where if I just get the job done next week, I'll be back in that ranking.

"But again, that ranking, it's great once you reach it but it's not something that I'm going to live or die on each week," added the Texan.

This season, he had a chance to record a grand slam and opportunity to become the youngest player ever to win a Masters, US Open and PGA Championship.

While neither achievement materialised, he is still keen on ending the year on a high.

He went into The Barclays atop the FedExCup standings and can still claim the US$10 million (S$14 million) bonus.

"Billy Horschel won the FedExCup after missing the cut in the first event last year and I'm in a better position to win the FedExCup than he was at the time," he said.

"So why can't I do it, you know?"

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson claimed a one-stroke lead at the Donald Ross-designed layout when he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the last.

He snapped a five-way tie for the lead with the birdie that gave him a 68 for a seven-under 133 total.

Tied for second were British Open champion Zach Johnson (65), Sweden's Henrik Stenson (66) and Americans Jason Dufner (68) and Tony Finau (69).

Watson balanced a birdie with a bogey on the front nine. But the American added a trio of birdies on the homeward side and bounced back from a bogey at the 17th with his birdie at 18 for the outright lead.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2015, with the headline 'Spieth misses cut, loses No.1 ranking'. Print Edition | Subscribe