PEBBLE BEACH, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Jordan Spieth of the United States with Clint Eastwood and the director of Pebble Beach after the final round on February 12, 2017, at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach,CA (Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
By Jeremy Harness
PEBBLE BEACH–Jordan Spieth said Sunday that a final round with a big lead is a situation that a golfer dreams about. That’s exactly the position that he was in, and he converted that to another title.
Spieth entered Sunday’s final round with a six-shot lead, and he was able to put things on cruise control from that point on, making mostly pars and staying out of trouble en route to a rather-easy victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“This is a bucket-list place to win,” Spieth said. “Here, Augusta National, St. Andrews, I mean there’s only a few in the world. It really feels special. It was amazing walking up to the 18th green, knowing that we were going to win.
“It’s just such a unique position; I tried to soak it in.”
He birdied the par-5 second hole and then the par-3 17th, but then parred out the remaining holes, a far cry from the pair of 65’s that he shot in the second and third rounds that earned him the big lead going into Sunday.
Because of the big lead, Spieth said afterwards that the main strategy that he and his caddie discussed was for him to “play boring golf.” He hit 16 of his 18 greens in regulation, his highest total of the entire week, but the putts did not roll in like they did the previous two days. It was enough to win by a nice cushion.
Kelly Kraft made a bit of a run at Spieth, narrowing the lead to three strokes at one point, but even though he fired a five-under 67, it was enough, as he came up four strokes short and wound up with a second-place finish.
However, all was not lost for Kraft. The high finish earned him a spot in next week’s Genesis Open, formerly known as the Northern Trust Open, that is held at Riviera Country Club in the Los Angeles area.
“I would have liked to have made a few more putts on the back nine today to add a little pressure, but I couldn’t make any putts, really, coming down the stretch.
“(But) it was a good day. It was nice to get off to that hot start and kind of set the tone for the day.”
Dustin Johnson, who also made a nice run with a four-under 68, finished in third place with an overall score of 14-under and once again played all week alongside hockey great Wayne Gretzky, who just so happens to be the father of his fiancé, Paulina Gretzky.
“I feel like my game’s in really good shape,” Johnson said. “I’m happy with the way I finished. I felt like I still could have played a lot better. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”