KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Jordan Spieth knew as soon as the ball left his clubface – he’d caught a flier.
Curving left to right, his ball landed on the right edge and bounded over the 18th green.
“That’s so dead there,” Spieth groaned to caddie Michael Greller. “Absolutely so screwed there.”
And he was right, of course. His ball had nestled down next to a sprinkler head, and though he got free relief, his drop wasn’t in a much more playable position – the collar of rough behind his ball, a steep slope in front of him, little green to work with. He chopped his pitch shot to 10 feet and missed the par putt, a sour note to end his hard-fought 73.
Spieth is chatty under the most benign conditions, but a steady 15-mph breeze meant a constant stream of conversation. Much of his commentary was gripes about bad breaks – an unlucky kick into the rough, a putt that somehow didn’t break – but nothing about what unfolded Thursday cost him a shot at history. He holed only 39 feet worth of putts (losing nearly two strokes to the field on the greens) but stood just six shots back of early leader Corey Conners in his bid to become the sixth player to capture the career Grand Slam.
Playing in the late-early wave, Spieth had a quick turnaround: He ended his day at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday and starts again at 8:33 a.m.