Spieth holds on for 'boring' win

Jordan Spieth hitting his tee shot on the 14th hole in the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The American had a commanding six-stroke lead at the start of the day and despite only two birdies, did enough to close out his ninth PGA Tour win by f
Jordan Spieth hitting his tee shot on the 14th hole in the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The American had a commanding six-stroke lead at the start of the day and despite only two birdies, did enough to close out his ninth PGA Tour win by four strokes.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

American dominates at his century PGA event to emulate Tiger's nine wins before 24

PEBBLE BEACH (California) • Jordan Spieth focused on "boring golf" and shrugged off an unexpected birdie drought in the final round, as he clinched his ninth PGA Tour victory by four shots at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California on Sunday.

A commanding six strokes ahead overnight, the world No. 6 carded a bogey-free two-under 70 for his first win on the Tour in 13 months on a picture-perfect afternoon of unbroken sunshine.

"It's unbelievable," the 23-year- old told CBS Sports after becoming the first player since Tiger Woods to win nine times on the PGA Tour before the age of 24.

"Today I hit 17 greens, it was kind of a dream round for ball-striking when you are leading by a bunch and I finally got one (a birdie putt) to go on 17."

In his 100th career PGA event, Spieth birdied the par-five second hole after reaching the green in two shots and tapping in. He then made 14 pars before sinking a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-three 17th.

"I kept saying, 'I don't like playing boring golf'," he added.

"I apologise but that was kind of the game plan. That's what was needed today and fortunately that's what we did to close it out."

The Texan finished at 19-under 268, while fellow American Kelly Kraft, the 2011 US amateur champion, fired a 67 for second place at 15-under, with compatriot Dustin Johnson (68) a further stroke back.

"I felt like I was playing really well," Johnson said.

"I played well on the front. I just didn't make any putts. I'm happy with the way I finished.

"The game is starting to turn around. I'm just getting refreshed. I'm getting back into it.

"I think the game is in good shape for the rest of this year."

Spieth, who won the Australian Open in November, has finished no worse than ninth in any of his past six starts worldwide.

He produced a putting masterclass that yielded eight birdies at Pebble Beach on Saturday but his putter cooled down on Sunday as he recorded just two more birdies.

Asked by six-time Major winner Nick Faldo how he had managed to putt so well on the bumpy poa annua greens at Pebble Beach during the third round, Spieth replied: "It's all speed work. I'm not thinking too much about the stroke, finding a point, kind of a mid-point in the putt, and dialling in the speed ahead of time... training my hands for the speed of the greens and then from there just trying to hit it around that spot."

Australian world No. 1 Jason Day, rebounding from a disappointing 75 in the third round, chipped in for an eagle at the par-five 14th on the way to a 67 and a three-way tie for fifth at 12-under.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline 'Spieth holds on for 'boring' win'. Print Edition | Subscribe