Golf

Jordan Spieth turning in another star performance at Genesis Invitational in shadow of Hollywood


Jordan Spieth has flipped the script.

Instead of a weekly update on his shocking descent down the official world rankings the past three years, Spieth has turned the page and become a daily occupant of the front page of the leaderboard the past three weeks.

With his second consecutive 3-under-par 68, the former world No. 1 and three-time major champion continued his crawl out of the abyss and moved into contention Friday in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

In search of his first win since the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale, the winner of 11 PGA Tour titles sat in a tie for fourth when he signed his card, six shots behind leader Sam Burns.

“All in all, very pleased with the ball‑striking today,” Spieth said. “I feel like today it was almost the highest score I could have shot and it’s really a good sign for things to come.”

After looking lost at times since midway through 2018, Spieth has now broken par in nine of his last 10 rounds and is 38 under in the stretch. He took at least a share of the 54-hole lead into his past two tournaments and finished in a tie for fourth in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and in a tie for third in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

He looks more comfortable over the ball, more confident striding down the fairways. The two-way miss hasn’t been his unwelcomed and painful 15th club for three weeks now. After falling to as low as 92nd in the world rankings, he’s now 62nd with a bullet.

“I made a couple iffy driver swings, but I actually drove the ball really, really well today until No. 9,” said Spieth, who despite hitting just 46 percent of his fairways in regulation, has hit 78 percent of his greens in regulation. “My ball‑striking was really solid and my bogeys came from, you know, just being in the wrong place on 18, which can happen, and missed about a six‑footer.

“Obviously Sam had some success on the greens and everywhere else, but it’s not like you can go chase people on this golf course. So I’m happy with where I’m at, but just eliminate a couple of the kind of minor mistakes here and there and try to keep clean cards on the weekend and let the rest of it take care of itself.

Genesis Invitational: Leaderboard | Photos | Tee times, TV info

Despite his uptick in form, Spieth has not changed his expectations.

“No, and they shouldn’t ever no matter what,” he said. “I’m trying to just get better every single day, have everything feel better each day and be able to be kind of outwardly focused versus kind of swing oriented. The more I can shift that direction and eventually to where it can be 100 percent that way, the better off I’ll be. I’m in good shape. Just try and get myself close to the lead by the end of tomorrow, that will be the goal.”



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