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Spieth's putter once again holding him back

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DALLAS – One look at the stat sheet and it’s easy to see why Jordan Spieth isn’t contending this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Through three rounds, the tournament’s de facto host sits third in the field in proximity to the hole. He’s third in strokes gained: approach, seventh in strokes gained: off-the-tee and fourth in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

But the glaring outlier comes, as it has all season, on the greens. Out of 75 players who made the cut at Trinity Forest, Spieth is 72nd in strokes gained: putting through three rounds. It’s a trend that continued during a third-round 71 that dropped Spieth from seven shots off the pace to 10 shots back.

“Unfortunately wasn’t my day today. Just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” Spieth said. “Seemed like every time I guessed, I was in between reads and it was a coin flip, and I guessed wrong. I felt like each stroke I put on it started on line and I look up and they were going to miss on the side I was guessing on, until 17. So some days it’s like that.”

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Spieth has struggled with confidence on the greens for much of the season, and he entered this week ranked No. 183 on Tour in strokes gained: putting for the season. While he brought more experience to this week’s venue than most players in the field, he admitted that the undulating greens at Trinity Forest tend to keep him guessing on a regular basis.

“I still haven’t figured them out, even the rounds I play in a week off,” Spieth said. “I just haven’t figured out the ins and outs of the breaks. Then you start to kind of get out there and maybe not trust it a bit. ‘Oh, I missed a couple low, let me go a little high.’ Then you miss it high and you just start kind of shaking your head a little bit.”

Spieth’s chances to capture his hometown event have come and gone, and even he admitted that he’d need a 59 to have a chance to catch Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise. But as he continues to battle for confidence on the greens in the midst of a busy four-week stretch of events, he knows that a turnaround could be only one round away.

“Sunday finishes, solid ones bring momentum into the next week. I’ve seen that personally,” he said. “I’m coming out tomorrow very focused because I know that it is an important round to obviously try and backdoor into maybe a top-10 or whatever the goal is going to be for the day.”