Late birdie lifts Spieth to share of Colonial lead

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FORT WORTH, US:  Masters champion Jordan Spieth drained a 19-foot birdie at the final hole on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to join a four-way tie for the lead at the $6.5 million Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Playing in front of delighted fans near his hometown of Dallas, Spieth was unfazed by the three-hour delay that pushed back the start of play, recording six birdies without a bogey to tie Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and fellow Americans Kevin Na and Boo Weekley atop the leaderboard on six-under 64.

Spieth, ranked number two in the world, drew a massive gallery when he teed off at 3:36 pm, the times pushed back after overnight rain and thunderstorms.

He opened with back-to-back birdies and picked up another stroke at the seventh, then nabbed three more birdies coming in.


Spieth, whose sensational victory at Augusta National made him the first Texan to win a major title since Justin Leonard won the 1997 British Open, is playing in his home state for the first time since then.

And he was feeling right at home.

“I’m comfortable enough hitting my nine- eight- seven-irons into the green right now,” he said. “They’re so receptive that you can still fire them right at the flag.”

Spieth did miss the green four times, and each time his putter rescued him. He made three par-saving putts from off the green, and at 18 his birdie effort was from just off the green.

“That really keeps the momentum going,” Spieth said.

Na and Weekley teed off early and set the target.

“I started out great, hit a lot of good shots. I felt like my iron play was an A-plus performance today and I made some great putts when I needed to for par,” said Na, who had seven birdies and one bogey.

AFP

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