American Spieth buries weekend woes at Australian Open

By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - American prodigy Jordan Spieth said closing out his victory at the Australian Open in such spectacular style on Sunday was a major step on the path that he hopes will take him to the top of the world rankings one day. The 21-year-old Texan marked himself out as a future major champion when, on debut, he led by two strokes at one stage in the final round of the U.S. Masters in April and ended up sharing second behind Bubba Watson. After he had a share of the lead at the start of the final round at the Players' Championship in May only to shoot a 74 for a share of fourth, however, golf pundits started talking about his "weekend troubles". There were no such problems on Sunday, though, as he simply blew away a field containing the current world numbers one and three in difficult conditions with a flawless round of eight-under-par 63 to win the Stonehaven Cup by six strokes. "This week was big because I was able to close it out, I felt the pressure, felt the nerves and performed the best I've ever performed," he told reporters after what he described as his best ever round. "There's a big difference between being great at Augusta and coming up just short and closing out a tournament. It just feels completely different. "Even though that week was one of the most memorable of my career, it still wasn't the same as this week and walking down the 18th." CLOSE CALLS Shortly after he turned professional at 19, Spieth became the youngest player in 82 years to win a PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic and was named PGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. Despite his brilliant week at Augusta, eight top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and a Ryder Cup debut, however, he looked like ending 2014 season winless. "There's been a lot of close calls from the last time I won until now and I'd be lying if I didn't say it was eating at me a little bit," he said. "It's tough when you get so close at big events and you are not able to pull it off and I decided to take care of business by a healthy amount today." Rory McIlroy used his victory at Royal Sydney last year as a springboard to a stellar 2014, in which he won the British Open and U.S. PGA Championship and regained the number one ranking. "If I had the follow-up year Rory had this year, I think I'd be pleased," he added with a grin. (Editing by John O'Brien)