Jordan Spieth- photo Ezra Shaw Getty Images
Jordan Spieth has picked up where he left off at last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, continuing a resurgence in a game which had seen him slip to 92nd in the world before finishing 4th in Phoenix.
Spieth added a second round of 67 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am and finds himself one shot ahead of Daniel Berger and two ahead of Sweden’s Henrik Norlander.
Four birdies in his last six holes at Spyglass Hill, one of the two courses being used in the opening two days of the event, saw Spieth sweep to the lead.
Earlier in the week Spieth described his love affair with the Monterey Peninsula where one of his 11 PGA Tour titles came in 2017. His best finish over the last twelve months until last week was when 9th in this event last year.
“Yeah, it’s Pebble Beach. What’s not to love as a golfer here? So I’ve loved this tournament, obviously finding success at this tournament has been really, really cool, just as a golf lover and someone who enjoys the history and the architecture of golf courses. So I’m happy that it’s been good to me over the years.”
Spieth who had missed five cuts in eight starts prior to the event in Scottsdale last week, has found some of the magic that led him to be the number one player in the game.
The two-time Australian Open champion was clearly delighted that the sharp improvement shown last week had continued.
“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.
Looking back to last week Spieth referenced the considerable progress he had made from Monday to Sunday at the TPC Scottsdale.
“I think I look back at Monday through Sunday. I mean, there’s some weeks where I look back at either one specific really solid round or I look back at one that, a lot of times when you look back when you’re leading on Sunday and it doesn’t work out, that’s what lingers.
“But for me it was, where was I at when we started on Monday and then where was I at when we finished on Sunday? And the progress that was made from the end of the Farmers until last Sunday wasn’t just out of nowhere.
“I mean, it was legitimate work and progress in the right direction. It wasn’t, Boy, I kind of got lucky here or there or I changed feels and it worked out like I would have said in the previous couple years.
“It was more, Man, I really felt like we were on — we’re on the same page. I’m getting into where I’m able to actually play golf instead of think about swings, and that’s just really exciting.”
Cameron Percy completed the opening 36 holes as the leading Australasian, the US based Victorian in 8th place at 7 under and five from Spieth’s lead.
Playing on limited status as a carry over from the disrupted 2020 / 2021 season, Percy led the Safeway Open through 54 holes in October before finishing 23rd and followed that up with an 8th place in the Dominican Republic but, those efforts aside, there has not been a lot to get excited about of late.
Percy is playing this event for the 8th occasion and in 2017 finished a very respectable 10th so it appears a venue on which he enjoys a genuine comfort zone.
Jason Day’s outstanding run at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am looks set to continue following a second round of 69 at Spyglass Hill do go with a similar score at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
Day has an amazing seven top 6 finishes in the event in 11 starts and, although six shots from the lead and tied for 14th at present, he appears to be in a really good frame of mind with his health and fitness.
“I feel like I’ve kind of set myself a goal where I want to play to 50 now because I feel good with my body, whereas before I was saying I just want to get to 40 and call it quits. So I feel really positive about my body and I know that I’m 33 now and I’ve got a lot of years left as long as I want it in my head.
“It is difficult to try and to want it perfect straight away, but you just got to just chip away at it because if you go full bore things get really tough. You get stuck in between patterns and you start thinking about more technical issues out there on the golf course and that’s not what you want, especially when you’re playing competitive golf.
“I feel very positive and I feel like things are moving in the right direction for the first time in a long time. So the attitude is much better and I’m just happy to be out here playing golf.”
Matt Jones, who finished 5th in this event last year, and John Senden, are at 5 under and tied for 16th and for Senden it is a significant moment.
Senden has missed ten of his last eleven cuts as he tries to get his game back to previous levels following the illness to a family member.
Cameron Davis and New Zealander Tim Wilkinson also made the cut but are some way further back.
The extremely talented West Australian played his first PGA Tour event this week but missed the cut by some way after rounds of 76 and 73.