Sports / Golf

Spieth places faith in Crenshaw

By Reuters in Augusta, Georgia (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-13 07:34

Spieth places faith in Crenshaw

Jordan Spieth blasts out of the sand on the 16th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday. Brian Snyder / Reuters

Like his mentor, starry youngster trying to stay cool

Precocious Jordan Spieth is minding his mentor Ben Crenshaw, keeping his emotions under control and staying patient in the thick of the hunt at the midway point of the Masters.

Playing his first Masters, the 20-year-old Spieth shot 71 in Thursday's opening round then went one better on Friday when the wind howled across the Augusta National pines, to tie for third place at three-under 141, four shots behind leader Bubba Watson.

"Mr Crenshaw says it best, the Masters brings out emotion in guys that aren't emotional," Spieth said.

"I am already emotional and I got to keep it on the down low. My caddie (Michael Greller) has been doing a great job of keeping me calm and focused."

Spieth, who eagled the par-five 15th to jump up the leader board, is one the leading lights of golf's new generation.

The Texan has been earmarked for greatness since he won the US Junior Amateur in 2009 and 2011, joining Tiger Woods as the tournament's only multiple winners, and his progress in the professional ranks has been jaw-dropping.

In 2013, his first season on the PGA Tour, he won the John Deere Classic, at 19 becoming the youngest Tour winner in 82 years.

Spieth said he was not surprised to see his name on the leader board at the year's first major.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "I have been playing against these guys and this caliber of field at quite a few events, so I felt like if I could get my game right and really handle myself mentally, then I could have an opportunity to be in contention.

"That's where I'm at now, with a lot of work to do.

"It's the halfway point ... but I am very pleased with the start."

Playing alongside two-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who barely made the cut at four over par, Spieth dropped a shot at the 17th after hitting his tee shot into the trees but showed his steely resolve at the last.

He struck a superb approach to within two feet of the flagstick on the difficult 18th for a tap-in birdie.

"This was a big goal of mine this year, to get in contention at a major and the Masters being the one that I dreamt about since I was who knows how old," he said.

Spieth conceded experience can certainly help over the fast, heavily contoured Augusta greens, but believes he's capable of getting the job done.

"Ultimately, if you are playing extremely well and you get the right breaks, then it doesn't matter if it is your first time or your 50th, I think that you can win out here," said the ultra-confident Spieth, who saw the positives in being paired on Saturday with 2013 winner Adam Scott of Australia.

"I'm paired up with the defending champ and I will get to see where he is playing a lot of his shots and how the ball is reacting from those," Spieth said.

"Hopefully, I can draw on that a little bit."

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