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Spieth plays mind games, cruises to win over Ilonen

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SAN FRANCISCO – Jordan Spieth birdied the first hole on Wednesday at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, added two more at Nos. 5 and 6 and turned 2 up in his match against Mikko Ilonen, but that’s not how the 21-year-old saw it.

“I like to start out being 2 down,” Spieth said. “I like to play my way back to even, and when I get back to even or 2 up then I’m back to 2 down. I kind of restart at each 2.”

The reality was that Spieth was never 2 down to Ilonen. In fact, he never trailed on his way to a convincing 4-and-2 victory at Harding Park.

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The mind games didn’t stop there for the Masters champion. He figured on Wednesday he’d advanced out of the round of 128 to the round of 64 and even cautioned his caddie, Michael Greller, about looking ahead to Thursday’s match, when he’ll play Matt Every.

“I told Michael to not go looking at where the dots are for tomorrow’s pins,” said Spieth, who lost in the quarterfinals at last year’s Match Play. “We need to approach this as win or go home.”