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Jordan Spieth Struggles In Third Round Of AT&T National, Confidence Still High For Sunday’s Finale

Jordan Spieth

Debby Wong – USA TODAY Sports

Several weeks ago, I wrote about why Jordan Spieth is going to have a bright future on the PGA Tour. I have to admit, when he held the 36-hole lead at the 2013 AT&T National, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Two consecutive rounds under par made it look like he was on top of his game and would be in the driver’s seat for the rest of the weekend. Even though Saturday’s third round may have changed that prediction a bit, you have to be impressed with the way the young Texan is handling himself in his breakout season.

Coming into the year, all but the most hardcore golf fans probably hadn’t heard much about the kid, except maybe a blurb or two in a magazine or newspaper article about golf’s ubiquitous “youth movement”. I’m part of that group myself. Even though he enters Sunday’s final round three shots back of leaders James Driscoll, Bill Haas, Andres Romero and Roberto Castro, the way he’s grinded through this season has him feeling confident in his ability to perform.

 

If you’re wondering what that “something special” is that he’s talking about, it’s more than just his first victory on the PGA Tour. If Spieth were to pull off the comeback win on Sunday, he would become the fourth-youngest winner on Tour of all-time. A win at Congressional would also earn Spieth the ability to continue play in the FedEx Cup playoffs, help cement his permanent Tour card for 2014 and earn a coveted invitation to Augusta National next year for the Masters.

Not bad for a 19-year-old who’s only been a pro for six months.

I’m not going to go all the way out there just yet and say Spieth will take the win. His putter has been what’s let him down all year, and it haunted him again on Saturday. After earning himself a two-shot lead with two opening birdies, he gave it all back by going six-over between Nos. 5 and 14, with a three-putt from just around five feet for double bogey on the par-4 eighth. He’ll have to get that part of his game dramatically better if he’s going to have any consistency this year.

This is all part of the learning curve for the new pro, and he’ll continue to have his bumps and bruises along the way. If he can keep his positive attitude and make a few putts, though, watch out — it’s only a matter of time before all those top-10s turn into a win.

Brandon Raper is a golf writer for RantSports.com. “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, or add him to your Google+ network.