PEBBLE BEACH – (Staff and wire service reporting from Sports Xchange) – Jordan Spieth won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Sunday by not taking any chances at losing it. In other words, he played boring golf right to the finish. Beginning the final around with a six-shot lead, the 23-year-old phenom, as he promised, played patiently and intelligently.
Spieth produced an effective if unspectacular two-birdie, no-bogey, 2-under-par 70 at Pebble Beach to win for the ninth time as a pro. His 72-hole total of 19-under 268 was four shots clear of Kelly Kraft, a fellow Texan, who closed with a 67.
Dustin Johnson, the U.S. Open champion, shot a 68 for 273 to finish third, one better than Brandt Snedeker, who began the day in second but could only shoot 70 for 274. Both Johnson and Spieth are two-time winners of the AT&T.
Gary Woodland, world No. 1 Jason Day and Jon Rahm, who won two weeks ago at San Diego, tied for fifth at 275, Woodland after a 10-birdie, three-bogey 65, Day — who ruined his chances by shooting 75 on Saturday — with a 67 and Rahm with a 68.
Spieth shot back-to-back 65s on Friday, in the rain at Spyglass Hill, and Saturday in clear weather at Pebble — three courses are used the first three rounds — to build his virtually unbeatable lead. He was not going to throw shots away.
“I was not thinking about the (putting) stroke,” Spieth said. “Just dialing it in to get the mid-point.”
Spieth and Snedeker, friends, were, along with their amateur partners, in the final grouping.
“Sneds can very shoot 7 or 8 under,” Spieth said Saturday, “so I’ve got set a goal and be real patient, try not to make many mistakes, hit a lot of greens in regulation.”
Which is exactly what he did. It would be like his alma mater, Texas, getting a two-touchdown lead in football and not doing anything silly.
Spieth may be young, but he also is experienced, from winning both the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015, and then, with a bad shot into the creek at No. 12 the final round, losing the Masters in 2016.
“Winning before Augusta is always a goal,” said Spieth, alluding to the Masters, in early April. “Getting into position to win and then being able to close it is a big confidence boost. In the two years we have won going into Augusta, and I feel like it helped me there.”
What helps him everywhere is his great putting. When he isn’t making birdies, he is saving pars, although in a situation Sunday’s, with others far behind, it was a case of not trying to hole everything.
“To be able to say you won at Pebble Beach, on these three magnificent golf courses,” said Spieth on Saturday evening, “would be special. It would be great obviously with AT&T. At this venue it would be phenomenal.”
Spieth has the AT&T logo on his bag.
NOTES: Beautiful weather Sunday — after rain and fog earlier in the tournament — led to those TV shots of people walking on the sand at neighboring Carmel beach and movie star and producer Clint Eastwood to make an appearance. That brought TV commentator Jim Nantz to say, “You and (the) sun come out the same time?” Responded the 86-year-old Eastwood, “Tough to come out when it’s raining.” … This is a “home game” for Nantz, who moved to Pebble Beach two years ago. … Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky (whose daughter is engaged to Dustin Johnson), San Francisco Giants exec Larry Baer and comedian Bill Murray were among the celebrities who made the cut and played Sunday