McKINNEY, Texas — It’s becoming widely recognized that the appropriate response to the question “Did you see what Jordan Spieth pulled off?” is simply “Which time?”
On Friday, for example, the Dallas native pulled some more magic from his Under Armour hat, this time a simple par save on the 10th hole at TPC Craig Ranch, when he reworked his backswing to punch a shot on the green.
“I didn’t know how the ball got there. I thought it kind of was directly behind the tree from the tee box,” Spieth said. “I could lineup maybe left side of the left greenside bunker, so if I could just get a good somewhat of a strike on it. I could get enough cut spin, I knew that, I just needed to carry far enough to carry the rough. I wasn’t exactly sure. I maybe didn’t expect to hit the green but I thought that getting it out and up near the front of the green was certainly a possibility.
“When you spend a couple years having a lot of those shots, you start to learn how to hit ’em and so when you are playing better and you happen to be in a tough spot you get a little, you’ve had a little more practice, I guess is the best way to put it.”
That practice continues to get Spieth into advantageous positions, even if all facets of his game aren’t clicking exactly as he’d like.
On Friday at the AT&T Byron Nelson he figured out his putter, but the driver started to fail him a bit. Still, Spieth did enough to stay near the top of the leaderboard, pairing eight birdies with a single bogey to fire a 65. As the weekend approaches, Spieth is 12 under and after the early wave of action, sat three shots behind leader and fellow Texan Ryan Palmer.
When asked about his tree-hugging save on 10, Spieth reminisced about similar escapes last year at TPC Craig Ranch, one on No. 11 and another on No. 12. Spieth continues to find trouble, and then Houdinis his way free, although he’d sometimes prefer the less spectacular route.
“I’ve been driving it nicely, haven’t really had to worry too much about that stuff,” Spieth said. “Today didn’t drive it quite as nice as yesterday, but I really don’t plan on having those situations anymore but it’s nice to know if I’m in ’em we can figure out a way to get out of ’em. Those are the fun ones to look back on, but boring golf is certainly preferred.”
If birdies are boring, Craig Ranch is mighty boring this week. Scores continued to dip after Sebastian Munoz’s 60 set the pace on Thursday. In fact, by the time Munoz got to the tee box on Friday, he’d already fallen to fourth place.
Jordan Spieth plays a shot from the rough on the tenth hole during the second round of the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson. (Photo: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports)
“I think I said ahead of time I thought that it would show a little more teeth than last year and I couldn’t have been more wrong,” Spieth said. “I mean a 60 yesterday and a lot of 8s and 7s all over the board. I mean it’s just, a lot of tees are up, it was very surprising. … I think they were looking at the weekend as a lot less wind and so they used more of the easier pins the first two days because I can only name one or two pins on this golf course that were not the easiest two locations that are on the greens.
“So maybe that’s the reason why, I’m not sure. I’m a little bit surprised at how, on a not-so-difficult golf course they have also set it up a little easier for us too.”