AUSTIN, Texas – Jordan Spieth shrugged and offered his signature grin. “It was a weird, weird hole,” he said.
Spieth was talking about the par-4 13th at Austin Country Club, which annually creates some of the best drama at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. But that wasn’t the only “weird” hole for him on Day 1.
The weirdness began when Spieth turned what should have been an easy shot into a problem at the drivable 13th hole.
“I went to driver because all you have to do is just blow it over the green, but I've never played a shot where I tried to hit it 40 yards past the pin,” Spieth explained. “I got over it and instead of just ripping a high one like [opponent Keegan Bradley] did, I found myself in a weird spot trying to chip cut it and just high toed it. I don't know, it was an awkward situation where I just wasn't very committed, even though it was the most committed shot you could possibly hit.”
Spieth’s tee shot found the water and with Bradley pin high following a textbook drive, it appeared Spieth would lose the hole. But Bradley chipped his second shot into the water and Spieth hit his third shot from the drop zone to 5 feet for an unlikely par and an even more unlikely tie.
There was more weirdness three holes later when Bradley’s second shot at the par-5 16th sailed over the green. Before Spieth could play his second shot, his caddie warned him.
“I was going to hit, and [caddie Michael Greller] said, ‘Hey, I think you should wait in case that's out of bounds.’ He said it could be Keegan's shot again,” Spieth explained. “I was getting ready to hit until he said that.”
Bradley’s shot did go out of bounds, which meant he had to play his fourth shot from the original spot before Spieth hit his second. It also gave Spieth a chance to adjust his strategy.
“It also really helped to know that he was out of bounds, and I changed to a 6-iron short left of the green where I could just pitch it up the green and didn't try and knock it on in two,” Spieth said.
Spieth won the hole to take his first lead of the match and closed the match out on No. 18 for a 2-up victory.