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Spieth (T-18) struggles with slower greens at Valspar

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A rare off week on the greens still netted Jordan Spieth another top-20 finish.

Not bad considering his start to the Valspar Championship.

Frustrated with the slow speeds of the recently redone greens at Innisbrook, Spieth turned in a 2-over 73 Sunday and tied for 18th.

“I couldn’t trust any of my putts to get there,” he said. “There was just no way when you get up there to think I actually have to hit it that hard and that high, and so at some point it’s just not going to happen. That’s rare.”

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Spieth also blamed a few strategic errors during his final round. His day got off to an inauspicious start, when he pulled driver on the second hole, found the bushes down the right and took an unplayable, leading to a bogey. He also made double on the par-3 eighth when his tee shot with a long iron hooked left and into the shrubs.

“Our decisions cost us a few shots early and all the momentum,” Spieth said. “We both get the credit when things are going good, and we’re going to take the fall today.”

Despite all of the handwringing about his recent results, Spieth has finished 21st or better in six of his seven worldwide starts this year. This week he rallied to make the cut after an opening 76. He is taking next week off before playing the WGC-Match Play and Houston Open before the Masters.

“Everything is in a good place as far as being ready for the Masters,” Spieth said. “I’d like to get things sped up and maybe contend before we get to Augusta. But after the first day, it looked like everything was kind of going the golf course’s way and we found a way to fight back.”