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Spieth quite content to be chairman of the bored

By Associated Press in Pebble Beach, California | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-14 07:16

Jordan grateful for lack of drama in his Pebble Beach triumph

Jordan Spieth soaked up every step of scenery on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, one of the prettiest places in golf and even more spectacular on a Sunday when the only work remaining was to hoist the crystal trophy.

The only thing missing from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was highlights - and that's just how Spieth wanted it.

Staked to a six-shot lead, the Texan never gave anyone much of a chance. He putted for birdie on all but one hole, but the lone highlight came when he drained a 30-footer on the 17th with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.

By then it was already over.

"I played a lot of boring golf today, which was exactly what I needed - to be boring," Spieth said.

He closed with a 2-under 70 for a four-shot victory over former US Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, a close friend from Dallas who couldn't get a putt to fall.

As bored as Spieth might have looked, it was no less special.

"This is a bucket-list place to win here. Augusta National, St. Andrews ... there's only a few in the world. It feels really special. It was amazing walking up the 18th green knowing I was going to win. It's just such a unique position. I tried to soak in."

It was Spieth's first 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour since the Masters, where he lost a five-shot lead on the back nine.

On this day, he thought back to the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach and the way Tiger Woods closed out his record 15-shot victory by trying not to drop a shot in the final round. Woods didn't make a bogey over the final 26 holes in severe conditions.

On a course saturated by rain, Spieth played the final 28 holes without a bogey. His longest par putt on Sunday was five feet.

"That's a dream round when you're leading by a bunch," he said.

The 23-year-old won for the ninth time on the PGA Tour and became the first player since Woods with that many victories before turning 24. Woods won 15 times.

Equally impressive is that Spieth won for the fifth time by at least three shots.

"He didn't have his best stuff, but he did exactly what he was supposed to do and played a great round," said Brandt Snedeker, a two-time Pebble winner who played in the final group with Spieth and shot 70 to finish fourth.

"Sometimes those are the hardest rounds of golf, when you have the lead that he had. It was fun to watch him do his thing out there."

Kraft, who closed with a 67, settled for a couple of consolation prizes.

The $777,600 for second place was nearly double his earnings from his rookie season last year. He also earned a spot at Riviera next week in the Genesis Open.

US Open champion Dustin Johnson closed with a 68 to finish alone in third, enough to have a chance to reach No 1 with a win next week.

Spieth's only other birdie was on the par-5 second when he two-putted from 12 feet.

One day after he took only 23 putts on the bumpy greens of Pebble Beach, he rarely put himself in difficulty, and didn't look to be trying to make any putts from above the hole to avoid placing himself in a position to drop shots.

No one could put any pressure on him over the opening seven holes, which is where rallies begin at Pebble Beach.

If there was a key shot for Spieth, it came on No 8. He tugged his tee shot into the wet rough to the left, facing a 210-yard shot over the ocean and into the breeze to one of the toughest greens at Pebble.

It came out perfectly, 20 feet from the cup for another routine par.

"I was very, very excited once that ball landed on the green," Spieth said.

"That was really avoiding a big number. That could have been a double or triple very, very easily, if that doesn't come out the right way. So that was the shot of the day for me."

Spieth became the seventh straight PGA Tour winner in his 20s, and he got back into the hunt for No 1. He had fallen far enough behind that even by beating a strong field at Pebble Beach, it will not move him from No 6.

Jason Day, the world No 1, bounced back from his 75 on Saturday with a 67 to tie for fifth with Gary Woodland (65) and Jon Rahm (68).

Spieth has four top-10s in his four starts this year and already appears to be peaking as the Masters nears. He has shot under par in all 16 rounds he has played this year, 17 in a row dating to the Tour Championship last fall.

The only disappointment for Spieth was not winning the pro-am with country singer Jake Owen. They tied for third, four shots behind Ken Duke and Carson Daly.

Spieth quite content to be chairman of the bored

Jordan Spieth waves after draining his final putt at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California on Sunday. Harry How / Getty Images / Afp

(China Daily 02/14/2017 page22)

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