Golf: Spieth comfortable at Augusta, 'ready to contend' for Masters

Jordan Spieth plays his shot from the ninth tee during a practice round prior to the Masters. PHOTO: AFP

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA (REUTERS) - Jordan Spieth has experienced highs and lows at Augusta National and the former champion said on Tuesday (April 5) his comfort level on the course along with expected firm and fast playing conditions at this week's Masters could play to his favour.

The 28-year-old Spieth has found a comfort level at Augusta National and his game sets up well for the layout, as shown by the fact the American has never missed a cut at the Masters where he always seems to raise his game.

"I feel like my game's in a great spot. I feel like I'm ready to contend," three-times major champion Spieth, who has four top-10 finishes in eight Masters starts, said at his pre-tournament news conference.

"Even if results over the last month or so haven't been what I was looking for, I feel like my game's in a lot better place than even it was last year here."

After enjoying a resurgence in his game in last year when he recorded his first win since the 2017 British Open, world number 18 Spieth has mostly struggled this season with one top-10 finish from nine PGA Tour events.

But Spieth feels the weather conditions, which included inclement weather at Augusta National on Tuesday that cut short practice rounds, could ultimately help give him a leg up.

Scattered thunderstorms are expected at Augusta National on Wednesday while the forecast for Thursday's opening round calls for party cloudy conditions with rain in the early morning.

"If we don't get too much rain, the course was as firm and fast as I've ever seen it on a Monday," said Spieth, who will go out in the penultimate group of the first round with world number four Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele.

"So ideally it gets back to that, throw in some wind and you're going to really need to know the golf course, plot your way around really well."

Spieth tied for second place in his 2014 Masters debut and a year later captured his first major championship victory when he delivered a stunning wire-to-wire victory by four shots.

In 2016, Spieth looked set to repeat as Masters champion when he reached the turn in the final round with a five-shot lead but imploded with a bogey-bogey start to the back nine followed by a quadruple-bogey seven at the par-three 12th.

Spieth said his experience on that 12th hole that year no longer enters his head and that, if anything, he is a better golfer because of it.

"I don't feel any damage from it at this point," said Spieth.

"Ideally, I get in that situation again and it makes me play the right shot and I win the golf tournament because of it."

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