PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth's run at Kiawah Island may have come too late

·2 min read
Jordan Spieth in the third round of the PGA Championship
Moving Day was good to Jordan Spieth at the PGA Championship. But did his leaderboard charge come too late? (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth finally found his groove at Kiawah Island on Saturday.

It just might have come too late.

Spieth, after going 4-over through his first 36 holes, finished with a 4-under 68 Saturday to get back to even par at the Ocean Course in South Carolina.

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Did Spieth’s PGA Championship run come too late?

Spieth came into the PGA Championship on a bit of a hot streak. After four top-10 finishes, Spieth won the Valero Texas Open in April to claim his first PGA Tour victory since 2017 — which ended a tough stretch of 83 starts without a win.

Spieth then finished in a tie for third at the Masters the next week, his best finish at Augusta National since 2018.

While he disappeared from the Tour briefly after that major, as he contracted COVID-19 and had to quarantine at home, Spieth returned last week for another top-10 finish — this time at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Undoubtedly, he entered the PGA Championship in a great position to claim the last major he needs for the Career Grand Slam. He was the overwhelming betting favorite coming into the event, too. 

But, like many other stars this week, Spieth struggled early. He went 1-over on Thursday while making four bogeys, and then went 3-over on Friday with five bogeys on his card. The Spieth from the past few months seemed to disappear.

That is, until Saturday. Spieth went 5-under through his first 16 holes and nearly completed a bogey-free round en route to his 68. His lone stumble came at No. 17, when he missed the green on the par-3 and walked off with a bogey.

When he entered the clubhouse, though, Spieth had vaulted 31 spots up the leaderboard and was five shots back from co-leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Phil Mickelson — who had yet to start their third rounds. He also matched the low-round of the day.

But with only 18 holes left, his charge may have come too late. Oosthuizen and Mickelson’s lead is strong, and Brooks Koepka started Saturday just one back from them. Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama got to within two of the leaders after Friday, too.

If Spieth is going to complete the Career Grand Slam this week, he’ll likely need quite a bit of help — along with an absolutely perfect final 18 holes. Still, if nothing else, Saturday’s bounce-back round had to have been good for his game from a mental standpoint.

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