Spieth to up mental game

Jordan Spieth watches his second shot on the 13th hole during round two of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Sept 5, 2015 in Norton, Massachuetts.
Jordan Spieth watches his second shot on the 13th hole during round two of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Sept 5, 2015 in Norton, Massachuetts. PHOTO: AFP

American says confidence shaken after he misses cut at Deutsche, vows to find aura of 'cockiness' before BMW

NORTON (Massachusetts) • Charley Hoffman fired an eight-under 63 on Saturday to take the halfway lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship where his gallant effort was overshadowed by Jordan Spieth's second straight missed cut.

American Hoffman, who is hoping to make the US Presidents Cup team this week, finished at 12-under 130 and is three shots ahead of Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe at the TPC Boston.

PGA champion Jason Day shot his second straight 68 and was tied for 10th, six shots behind Hoffman, while world No. 1 Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th to shoot 74 and just sneak into the third round above the cut line.

But Spieth stumbled to a two-over 73, which meant he missed consecutive cuts as an amateur or professional for the first time in his career.

"It is almost like a bad dream. Just wake up and get the putts to go again," said the 22-year-old.

He had bogeys on three of his final six holes as he finished 36 holes at six-over 148. Spieth, who is his own biggest critic, admitted his confidence is shaken.

"I had really bad self talk this week, something I hadn't experienced in quite awhile," said the reigning Masters and US Open champion. "Maybe heightened by everything that has happened this year. Not only was I out of (contention), but I was also outside the cut line and maybe that heightened my self talk."

It was just the fourth missed cut of the season for Spieth, who was seeking to rebound this week after failing to get into the weekend action last week at The Barclays.

"I am going to take some time away. Probably be good for me to take at least four days and not touch a club," he said, adding he would be mentally and physically ready for the BMW Championship in Chicago, the third of four events in the FedExCup play-offs.

"I need to walk with some cockiness in my step these next two tournaments. I can control that walking with the cockiness whether things are going good or bad and that is what you have to have inside the ropes. I will bring it when we get to Chicago."

Spieth's two-week stint as world No. 1 came to an abrupt end at The Barclays, with McIlroy regaining the top spot even though he did not play last week.

World No. 3 Day, who started the week in a battle for the top ranking along with Spieth and McIlroy, said Spieth's problems appear to be more mental than physical.

"Who knows what's going on inside his head," said the Australian. "We can analyse his swing, analyse why he's not putting well, not chipping the way he was prior to these last two tournaments. But upstairs, we can't read that. It is a lot of pressure for a 22-year-old kid even though he has had a stellar year."

Hoffman, a three-time PGA Tour winner who was on the leaderboard for a long time at the Masters this year before finishing equal ninth, started well with eight birdies on his opening 14 holes.

"This is one of those courses that when you get up on the tees it sets up well visually," he said. "I'm in a nice position after two days, but obviously we have a lot of golf left."



Day 4: StarHub Ch204, 11.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'Spieth to up mental game'. Print Edition | Subscribe