PINEHURST: US prodigy Jordan Spieth, coming off heartbreak at the Masters and last-day disappointment at the Players, hopes to follow Rory McIlroy’s path to a US Open title this week.
The 20-year-old American flirted with becoming the youngest Masters champion two months ago before settling for second behind Bubba Watson in his Masters debut.
But Spieth, ranked 10th in the world, likes his chances of victory when the 114th US Open begins on Thursday (Friday in Manila) at Pinehurst.
“I believe I can win this golf tournament,” Spieth said on Monday (Tuesday in Manila). “I feel comfortable on this golf course. I think it fits my game.”
It’s a case similar to that of McIlroy, who led the Masters by four strokes entering the final round in 2011 only to fire a final-round 80 and finish well back.
McIlroy learned from his mistakes and the Northern Ireland star collected his first major title two months later at the US Open, winning at rain-soaked Congressional by eight strokes.
Spieth has taken the positives from the Masters and faltering from a share of the lead to fourth in the final round last month at the Players, calling both of them stinging defeats.
“I learned a lot from both experiences,” Spieth said. “I felt like I struck the ball better, played smarter shots at the Players. I just got bounces that didn’t go my way.
“So coming in here that’s all behind me. I’ve gotten what I think I needed to learn from those experiences and I will put that into account, if I can work my way into contention here.”
Spieth began the year with the goal of contending at a major. That dream achieved at Augusta National, his new goal is to win a major title.
“Now if I can get into that position, the goal isn’t just to feel the feelings and try to get the comfort level, now it’s to really try and put into place what Augusta as well as the Players have taught me,” Spieth said.
“Out here it’s going to be even more difficult to stay patient, which has been the biggest thing that’s led me to be successful in those two events. This is the hardest tournament to be patient in the world.”