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On Saturday, the two-time major winner played like he should have been.
The 2015 U.S. Open champion continued to struggle with his putter, posting a four-over 76 for the third round. He’s at four-over through 54 holes watching a crowded leaderboard leave him in the distance.
“Today was an off day,” Spieth told reporters afterward at Erin Hills. “Pitchers have good days and bad days and I took an L today.
The problem is that Spieth has been taking too many Ls at majors since melting down at last year’s Masters. He hasn’t finished in the top 10 in the five majors since (including a +9 T-37 at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont) and seems destined for a sixth.
But coming into Saturday, it wasn’t hard to imagine that Spieth, sitting at even par, might be able to put together a run like many of the other younger players who ended up doing it.
Yet it never happened. Spieth never wandered into negative numbers on the front nine, posting only two birdies the entire day (he has six on the week). He then deflated down the stretch, bogeying 13 and 17 before going out in the worst way with a double on 18.
“I’ve been striking the ball well,” Spieth said. “It’s just been trying to figure it out on and around the greens. And I feel like once the cannon gets open, I’ll start pouring them in.”
Spieth hasn’t had the worst season. He’s finished top 10 six times in 14 starts, including a win at Pebble Beach and a t-2 at Colonial. Still, he set a high bar for himself by winning both the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open and one wonders how long this major slump might continue.