Anyone else fired up about Jordan Spieth having the lead at the halfway point of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am?
After Spieth opened Thursday with a 65 at Pebble Beach, he came back with a 67 at Spyglass Hill on Friday. Spieth stands at 12-under after 36 holes.
He is one ahead of Daniel Berger and two up on Henrik Nordlander. First-round leader Patrick Cantlay sits at 9-under, along with Tom Lewis and Paul Casey.
Following is Spieth’s press conference following the round.
Q. Sounds like you’re pretty pleased with the last two days?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, definitely. I’m in great position after the midway point. So, feel a little bit improved off of last week, which was the goal this week, to just try and feel like I’m getting better each day. Yeah, I made — I haven’t made a ton of like longer putts, like in order to be in the lead like normal, which is probably a really good sign, that I’m keeping the ball in front of me and striking it really nicely and a couple mistakes here or there, other than that it was really clean.
Q. You do feel like you’re striking it better than last week in Phoenix, more progress?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it feels a little bit better. I’m trusting some shots that I probably would have held off on there and, which is normal. So still a lot of progress for the feels to kind of matchup the exact timing. I get a little off with the timing as I go up the bag a little bit, but ultimately enough to where I can play shots that I need to play and certain, if I feel a little uncomfortable, to kind of stay in that hole, and then take advantage when it’s feeling good.
So the forecast coming the next two days, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that easy to get to 12-under for the next two rounds, so Pebble’s going to be mean Pebble, it looks like, tomorrow and we look forward to that. I look forward to that challenge. It’s going to be fun to go out there and have to hit some kind of different level shots than when we played in the desert last week.
Q. Do you think that’s a good thing, having to hit those kind of different shots when you’re still trying to find your swing?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, sure. I mean, whatever ends up with the best result would be nice. But I would imagine — I like when the conditions are a little tougher you have to go a little more feel. And so the front nine will be more downwind even though it will be windy, which doesn’t make it easy, but as you make that turn the back nine tomorrow will be, 11 in will be a different animal.
Q. What was your approach on 17? Was that an easy decision for you?
JORDAN SPIETH: 17? The driver?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, so I hit 3-wood there every year, but it had warmed up and the wind was off the right and I had felt really comfortable hitting a draw with the driver today, so I thought with how it had warmed up I thought I could get it up either into the greenside bunker or just short which gives me the up slope. If I hit 3-wood I end up with a 55-yard shot and with that green it’s just a really tough one to get close. It’s that awkward kind of range. If I overcook it, you’re fine.
So it was, with that wind off the right it was a more comfortable shot for me and it got up to where it was on that upslope and I was able to get it to where I had an uphill putt, which is hard to do on that hole.
Q. These last five rounds, is it baby steps or are any of them turning into leaps?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I mean, they feel like they’re progressions each day. Sunday was really good for me to just kind of be able to learn a little bit from the tendencies, especially as I go into the next two days. I’m just trying to kind of get more comfortable being towards the top of the leaderboard and kind of feeling those nerves. You start to get more comfortable the more often you’re there, and these two days playing with or around the lead for at least the back nine yesterday through most of the round today, I felt a lot more comfortable than I did last week, which is a good sign. So not to say that it won’t be a significant challenge the next two days, but I would say equal progressions each day.
Q. What club did you hit on the par-3, 5?
JORDAN SPIETH: I hit a 5-iron there. It was, that’s a mean hole. Just tried to whip it to the center of the green and I hit it to where we were essentially trying to hit it and then I just, Ricky was 1 foot behind me on the line, so from 40 feet it’s not like cake if you see the read, but to know kind of how the, how it would, what it would do up the slope and then after, it was really nice to get a read off Ricky, and the hole caught it on the right side. So that was the longest putt I’ve made in the two days and certainly a steal there.
Q. Your steps, not to diminish what you did in Phoenix or yesterday, but Spyglass is always hard, usually hard. How much did today sort of you show yourself given the difficulty of this course?
JORDAN SPIETH: It’s one of my favorite golf courses that we play all year. I love Spyglass and I think my love for it has allowed me to play well year-in and year-out on this course. Whether I play the other two well or not, I seem to have success at Spy. I don’t know what it is. I just think the layouts of the holes are awesome. You’ve got a mixture of some short par-3s with some — 4 is one of the coolest holes that we play. I look forward to playing it. I wish we could play it more often with that green that’s 50 yards deep but five yards wide the whole time. It’s just fun. You kind of feel like you got to hit a lot of kind of feel trap shots and then it can be tough.
But I think we got a really good break being on Spy today versus Pebble. It looked and has shown to be the better end of the draw with us being on Pebble yesterday and Spy today. So I think Daniel was up there playing on Pebble. I’m not sure how many other guys are at the top of the leaderboard playing Pebble today, but they have played arguably better golf than we had to to be up there.
Q. Your history at this event. Why does it fit your game? I mean, these courses, you’ve obviously played well here many times before.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think a lot of it is I have a lot of fun at this tournament. I’m with Jake Owen every year and we’re normally with Dustin and Wayne for three rounds and we just have a blast together. We always kind of have a match between the two of us anyway. So it’s almost like you’re just playing a round somewhere in town back at home.
So I think a lot of it is that I have a lot of fun, but again, these golf courses specifically you have to be shot-making and it’s very feel based. You’re not just playing in the desert and firing range shots up. You very rarely have one that you’re just playing a stock driving range shot. So that can be challenging when you’re off and it can be an advantage when, for me I really like that when I’m feeling good about my game. So the small greens require a lot of precision and imagination around them too, especially on Pebble, so that may go into it as well.
Q. Have you heard from Jake?
JORDAN SPIETH: I haven’t. I’m sure I’ll get in touch with him this afternoon, and tell him we would probably be up on — well, who knows with the way Dustin’s playing, right? So is it really would have been him versus Wayne to see what would happen.
Q. 14, the par-5, how did you play that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Oh, I hit a drive into the right first cut and I hit a hybrid onto the left side of the green and 2-putted. It was a good drive to get a good angle and ended up with a good number — I had mud on the ball, so I played it out to the left in case the mud threw it and it kind of came out straight.
Q. How far did you have on 4?
JORDAN SPIETH: That was probably a 7-footer. I had one more club and Michael said, Let’s hit one less. It was a great call by Michael. He said, Let’s hit one less, it should feed down there.
Q. What club?
JORDAN SPIETH: I hit a gap wedge instead of trying to chip a pitching wedge and he said, Just let it funnel down that hill. That pin’s further up than it is in years past, so it’s actually gets closer to the hole. And it was a really good call because we didn’t play that nine in the practice round.
JORDAN SPIETH: 7 was a hybrid. I got a really good lie in the rough. That was a good break. 8 was another good break. I hit the tree off the tee. I toed a 3-wood and it came out in the fairway and I hit a 7-iron that happened to go right of the right pin, below the hole. That was a steal there for sure.
Q. Did you get some breaks today?
JORDAN SPIETH: I got a couple nice breaks today. The first hole, I’ll tell you what, it’s crazy, you go on runs of cards out here. You get good ones and then you go on a bad run of cards. I’m now hitting it and kind of thinking it’s going to be a good break again, which is really nice.
Q. I was looking through your old quotes from Harding Park. You said, It will hit a tree and where it used to go in the fairway now it hits the cart path and goes out of bounds. Do you feel like you’ve turned the corner with the golf gods?
JORDAN SPIETH: That’s a hypothetical question, right? But it’s, I got a couple good ones today, and the first hole I had a couple bad, kind of tough ones, and then it was one of those days when you do get a couple bounces you got to take advantage and I was glad to do so. But you don’t rely on that. It’s just when it happens it’s obviously really nice.
I definitely got a stroke or two on number 8, but other than that, I think the rest of it could have played pretty even.
Q. Sorry to put words in your mouth, but they came out of your mouth. What’s the difference confidence-wise when you shoot a good score and get away with murder to what you said in Phoenix, I think it was the second round, compared with having a good round —
JORDAN SPIETH: The first round in Phoenix I got away with murder there and it’s a massive, it’s very different as you walk off the golf course. I mean, to feel like, to feel like I could have shot lower is a great feeling to be kind of thinking that way versus, Man, there’s no way I could have shot a better score. And a lot of that comes down to putting too.
But today I 3-putted from 6 feet and missed another 6- or 7-footer on the last hole that was a putt for birdie. So you look back and then — then I also canned a 40-, 50-footer. So it’s just kind of, I like where things are at. I like the amount of greens in regulation I’ve been hitting and again I just want to progress tomorrow. Today felt better than yesterday and I want tomorrow to just to feel like I have a little bit more control over the ball than I did today.