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Spieth on hitting bunker rake: 'That's on me'

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The adventures of Jordan Spieth continued Friday at Pebble Beach. A day after he was caught on camera blaming caddie Michael Greller for two bad yardages, Spieth once again became exasperated after his fairway-bunker shot struck a rake that was buried in tall grass on his 11th hole of the day, No. 2. 

“Oh, it hit the rake,” Spieth said, taking off his hat. “Oh, there’s a rake there.”

The ball could have gone anywhere after ricocheting off the rake, but instead it hopped a few feet in front of him, into gnarly rough from which he was only able to advance the ball 40 yards. From there Spieth was actually able to salvage bogey, after holing an 8-footer, part of a whirlwind day in which he carded seven birdies and five bogeys, leaving him six shots off the lead at the U.S. Open.

“Today was kind of a what-could-have-been round,” he said.

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Through two rounds Spieth (nine) has made more birdies than clubhouse leader Justin Rose (eight), but he’s also made a number of miscues, from indecision with shot selection to poor execution.

The rake incident was a result of both – it was perhaps a stretch to hit a 200-yard 6-iron from a sidehill, downhill lie over a barranca, and either player or caddie should have spotted the rake directly in line with the target.

Spieth took responsibility for the mental lapse – “That’s on me. I’ve got to look at all options ahead of me” – but his incredulous reaction was another bad look after he was slammed on social media for throwing his caddie under the bus.

“It was kind of a weird set of events,” he said.

And it’s been a weird week for Spieth, who hit only eight greens during a Friday 69. Two years ago he was the best iron player on the planet, but he’s struggled mightily with his approach shots this season, ranking 161st in greens in regulation. That has continued with his iron shots into Pebble’s small, severe greens.

“To be under par at the U.S. Open with eight bogeys in two days means things are in a good place,” he said. “Just got to limit those mistakes. ... It’s easier for me to limit the mistakes than it is to try and force birdies.”