Talk about déjà vu.
For the second straight day, Jordan Spieth ended a round losing strokes on the greens.
But for the second time this week, he capped a round with an eagle.
After holing a 55-footer at TPC Craig Ranch’s par-5 finishing hole on Thursday, Spieth left himself 30 feet from the fairway cut at No. 18 in Saturday’s third round.
“I had had a couple fringe putts earlier in the round and they came off really bouncy and slow,” Spieth said. “We're just not used to the zoysia, so I went out and just hit it a little harder. Once it got on the green, it looked good, started the putter raise, and I wasn't positive it was going in because the angle it was coming in at. I wanted to do the no-look to the crowd, but, I mean, it was a really cool moment.”
Spieth’s closing eagle put an exclamation point on 6-under 66 that got him to 17 under, three shots back of 54-hole leader Sam Burns at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He also notched six birdies, which he credited to a slight adjustment with his putting setup.
After Friday’s round, where Spieth ranked 124th in the field in strokes gained putting (-1.488), he headed to the practice green. The fix: he widened his stance and bent over closer to the ball like he’s done in the past.
“Kind of got me, like I said, a little more like open, like eyes open to the target versus feeling closed,” he explained, “and that, for me, if I feel more of a left bias, I putt a lot better than trying to save it.”
After a cranky second round, Spieth trusted the new stroke early. But by the time he had finished his round he had three-putted twice and missed three putts inside of 10 feet to bring his weekly total to nine. Still, it was an improvement, as Spieth ended up 40th of 72 players in stroke gained putting (-0.385).
“If I was putting as well as I do in tournaments that I win, we would be a number of strokes better right now,” said Spieth, who also bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 on a day where he missed only four greens.
With players going off in threesomes early Sunday to avoid inclement weather later in the day, Spieth will be in the penultimate group as he tries to track down Burns, who is trying for his second victory in three weeks after winning the Valspar Championship two weeks ago.
“It's one of those rounds you want to control your own destiny, but looks like I'll be three back, and so you just got to go low or hope that Sam doesn't go as low, right?” Spieth said. “So, if I just have the attitude I did today, go out and be really patient, wait for it to come to me, play the easy holes well, and wait for your chance…”
And make more putts.