“Just a bad day.”
“Didn’t feel like it was much different.”
“Felt like I had a really bad deck of cards.”
And that’s how Jordan Spieth summed up one of the more shocking turns in PGA Tour history, one that saw him go from holding a share of the lead after Thursday’s Sony Open first round and telling folks he was in “really good control,” to the events of Friday’s second round, where he also said this afterward:
“Yeah, this sucks.”
Indeed. It all led to a scramble to the record books, too. Spieth, after shooting a six-under 64 on Thursday at Waialae Country Club, had signed for a five-over 75 on Friday and missed the cut — becoming the first player in just under three years to go from the front of the line on day one, to a trunk slam the next. Matt Every, at the 2000 Arnold Palmer Invitational, had been the last to do so, and both Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine and golf data guru Rick Gehman reported that 17 players had achieved the dubious feat since 1993.
Previously, Spieth had been never near that list: Brentley also noted that the three-time major winner had had at least a share of a first-round lead 11 times since turning pro just under a decade ago — and he had gone to win three times, along with finishing second four times, and third, T8, T9 and T42 once. So … what happened?
A little bit of everything.
“It’s not like I wouldn’t have replayed anything that I — I made a bad swing; didn’t really make any bad decisions,” Spieth said. “Just got just the ball in the wrong spots at the wrong places, and out here, you just have to be fairway, fairway, fairway.
“I just didn’t drive it as well today.”
That was true. Though, Spieth missed just one less fairway — on Thursday, he hit seven of 14; on Friday, six of 14 — his strokes gained stats were noticeable: In the off-the-tee metric, Spieth went from 15th (1.211) in round one, to T125 (-1.290), and in tee to green, he was 24th (1.971) on Thursday, and 140th (-4.436) on Friday. He also dipped significantly in SG: Putting, from sixth (3.494) to 114th (-1.370).
Then there was his stretch from holes eight to 11. Spieth had been even par to that point, with a bogey on 2, and a birdie on four. And then …
— He bogeyed the 446-yard, par-4 8th. From a lie just outside of a right fairway bunker, he dumped his second shot into the left greenside bunker.
— He bogeyed the 494-yard, par-5 9th, though it was at least entertaining. He hit his tee shot right and into water, he hit his next shot just feet in front of the boundary fence on the left, and he hit a punch shot under a palm tree with his fourth stroke.
— He bogeyed the 339-yard, par-4 10th. He nearly drove the green, but his ball finished in the right greenside bunker, and he flubbed on his first effort to get out.
— He bogeyed the 198-yard, par-3 11th. His tee shot was right and a whopping 37 yards from the hole.
At that point, he was on the projected cut line, at two-under, and after a bogey on 386-yard, par-4 15th, he was under it. And that was that. On the 538-yard, par-5 18th, he gave himself a look at birdie, but it missed.
“Yeah, I mean, No. 8 I was — I’m standing in the bunker and the ball is this far — if the ball is in the bunker, it’s an easy fairway bunker shot,” Spieth said. “I’m standing like this and it goes like two yards from being on the green and down in the bunker, short-sided, and make bogey.
“Nine, I’m playing the wind here, southeast, and I hit what I thought was actually maybe a little bit to the right, and gets in the air and just starts going east, southeast and just never stops. Hits the cart path and goes into the water.”
What happened on 10?
“On 10, you know, I didn’t think I could reach the bunker and it kind of went to where the slope meets the flat,” Spieth said. “I’ve never shanked a bunker shot. I hit the hosel but wasn’t much of a play. The play was either 25 feet or try and hit it close, and just came off a yard or two from being perfect. And then I left a putt short on 11.
“So, yeah, it was just like I — you know, I guess I could have certainly hit a better drive on 9, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.
“And then all of a sudden I was four-over there.”
And Spieth headed home.