Golf: Spieth denies he's in a post-Masters slump after missing cut at Players Championship

Jordan Spieth chips onto the 16th green during the second round of the Players Championship.
Jordan Spieth chips onto the 16th green during the second round of the Players Championship.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP/REUTERS) - World No. 2 Jordan Spieth missed the cut on Saturday at the Players Championship, his first event since squandering a back-nine Sunday to lose last month's Masters.

The 22-year-old American, struggling with his putter, opened on 72 and followed with a 71 to stand on one-under 143, one stroke over the cut line to missing the last 36 holes for the second year in a row at TPC Sawgrass.

Spieth, who defends his US Open crown next month at Oakmont, played down the notion he could be in a funk after his Masters meltdown, which denied him a second consecutive wire-to-wire win at Augusta National and handed England's Danny Willett a first Major crown.

"I don't think there's much of a connection to the Masters. I just didn't putt well," Spieth said. "Augusta seems like a long time ago to me."

World No. 1 Jason Day also had to battle through horrid putting conditions and a poor start to fire a one-over par 73 and lead by four shots on 14-under 202.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan started the third round with three straight birdies on his way to a 67 and a share of second place with German Alex Cejka (72) and American Ken Duke (65) at 10 under.

Duke and Matsuyama were the only players to break 69 on a day when 76 of the world's best players combined for 149 three-putts, almost two per player. Nobody had a bogey-free round as the field shot an average score of 75.6 strokes.