It’s been since the summer of 2017 when Jordan Spieth was able to lift the winner’s trophy following a PGA Tour event. That all changed Sunday afternoon at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio in the Texas Valero Open when the 27-year-old captured his 12th Tour victory by two shots over a stubborn Charley Hoffman.
In what could be a preview of what we can expect from the 2015 Masters champion this week at Augusta National, Spieth played a spectacular final 28 holes to take control of the tournament. He walked away with 500 FedEx Cup points and the winner’s check of $1,386,000. It was Spieth’s first win since his exhilarating win over Matt Kuchar in the 2017 Open Championship.
Spieth’s golf game has been in disarray for much of the past two years, where he’d seen his standing in the FedEx Cup fall from second in 2017 to 107th following the 2020 season. His 2021 season didn’t start out much better, with four missed cuts in seven starts and no finish better than a tie for 38th.
It remains to be seen if he can follow up the win as a +1200 favorite with a strong performance in the Masters, but for now, one of the truly great stars of the game appears to be back in form.
Somewhere in the Arizona desert, though, something clicked for the three-time major champion as he fashioned a 10-under-par 61 in the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. His 1-over-par 72 in the final round left him in a tie for fourth, but it set the stage for three more top 10 finishes in his next five events.
Even though he was in or near the lead, he couldn’t muster a sub-70 round to get him over the 3 1/2-year hump. Until Sunday, that is.
After a 5-under-par back nine 31 to close his third round, Spieth began the final 18 holes in San Antonio tied with Matt Wallace at 12-under par, two shots clear of 44-year-old Hoffman.
Something about Texas
Spieth took the lead with birdies on the second and third holes, and despite challenges from Hoffman throughout the round, never relinquished it. After Hoffman threatened to pull even after a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 sixth hole, the Texas native responded with his own 10-footer to stay in front.
Hoffman again made a move, draining an 18-footer from the fringe on the par-3 16th hole to pull to within a shot. Spieth all but clinched the win on the par-4 17th hole, knocking his approach shot to within three feet and sinking the putt to again go up by two shots with just the par-5 18th hole remaining.
When Hoffman failed to chip in for eagle on the 72nd hole, all that remained was for Spieth to two-putt from less than 20 feet behind the hole to end his over 1,000 days of frustration. It remains to be seen if he can follow up the win as a +1200 favorite with a strong performance in the Masters, but for now, one of the truly great stars of the game appears to be back in form.