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Despite struggles, Jordan Spieth very much in contention at East Lake

By Chris Vivlamore
Published on

 
ATLANTA – Jordan Spieth said he is still having trouble with his golf game "from tee to green."
 
Look out it he gets it figured out this weekend.
 
For Spieth climbed back into contention at the Tour Championship with a second-round 4-under 66 at East Lake Golf Club. His score was the best of the day by two strokes. Only leader Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose managed rounds as close as 2 under par. Speith has a two-round total of 6 under, three strokes off Stenson's lead of 9 under.
 
Spieth's round came as he made two huge par saves at Nos. 5 and 6, helping him to a bogey-free round. Most impressive yet, Spieth did that while hitting only nine greens in regulation.
 
Spieth said after his 2-under opening round he needed to work on squaring his clubface at impact. Surely, he was able to do that Friday?
 
"Not necessarily, no," Spieth said. "It's still a struggle tee to green. It really is. I'll figure it out. I think it's close. It looks fine, it's just a matter of ball position or setup. It's something minor that one it clicks and I have a go-to ball flight. I just don't feel like I have a go-to ball flight right now, which is normally when I play my best. I have a reliable shot at least to hit if you're off that day.
 
"Yeah, it wasn't squared up. It was a little bit better though. But I missed it where I could get up and down and was really careful to do so, and that's why we were able to salvage the round."
 
On the 514-yard par-4 fifth hole, Spieth hit a 254 yard drive to the tree line on the right of the hole. He initially thought the ball was out of bounds and he would need to hit re-tee. His approach traveled 228 yards and still landed in the rough 61 yards short of the green. Despite a tree branch blowing in front of him, Spieth hit the green six feet from the pin. He holed the putt for the first of two consecutive par saves.
 
"That third shot I hit on five was one out of 10, maybe," Spieth said of the odds to pull off the approach. "There was no other option but it wasn't necessarily smart. I had the wind blowing this branch back and forth and I had to hit when it was going one way or else I would have hit up into it."
 
On the 225-yard par-3 sixth, Spieth landed in the greenside bunker. His blast was 17 feet from the pin. The ensuing made putt saved his round.
 
"Five and six were big holes for me for this tournament," Spieth said. "To be able to get those up and down and stay at even par, it was huge. It was not pretty tee to green for me and I have a lot of work to do for the next two days."
 
Spieth birdied Nos. 8, 9 and 15 before sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to end the day right where he wanted. Spieth said his pre-round goal was to shoot 4 under.
 
"If we can hit a few more greens and not rely on nine-for-nine (par saves) that would be fantastic," Spieth said. "To shoot 4 under hitting nine greens is another thing that I can take as a positive."
 
Spieth entered the PGA Tour playoff finale second in the FedExCup standings. He'll need to catch Stenson if he wants to bring home the $10 million purse as playoff champion. Suddenly, that doesn't seem such an impossible task. 
 
This article was written by Chris Vivlamore from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.