Dean & Deluca Invitational 2016
Round 4 - Late birdies seal win for Jordan Spieth
May 30, 2016
Jordan Spieth found the perfect cure for his Masters misery.
With an impressive back nine at Colonial, Spieth won at home in Texas for the first time on the PGA Tour. He had three consecutive birdies after making the turn, and three more in a row to finish his 5-under 65 on Sunday, including a chip-in birdie from behind the 17th green after a fortunate bounce off a marshal.
''In our third tournament back, to come back and close this one out the way we did is really, really special,'' Spieth said. ''This day is a moment that'll go down, no matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will be one of the most important days that I've ever had.''
The second-ranked Spieth punctuated his eighth career victory with a 34-foot birdie putt when he needed only a bogey to win the Dean & Deluca Invitational.
At 17-under 263, Spieth finished three strokes ahead of Harris English (66). Colonial member Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson tied for third at 13 under, both shooting 68 in the final group with Spieth.
Last month at Augusta, Spieth blew a five-stroke lead on the back nine when trying to win the Masters for the second year in a row. There was then an extended break before he missed the cut at The Players Championship and then finished tied for 18th a week ago at the Byron Nelson before finally winning in the Lone Star State after three runner-up finishes there, including Colonial last year.
''The significance of it happening now ... because I wasn't sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come in to every single interview room, having to listen to crowds only talk about what happened a month ago,'' he said. ''And it's very difficult, and I'm 22. It's not like I hadn't won, and we've won two majors.''
He is the reigning U.S. Open champion, and will be trying to defend that title at Oakmont in three weeks.
Spieth started Sunday at Hogan's Alley with nine consecutive pars, including a 32-footer at the par-3 eighth after hitting his first shot into heavy rough.
''The nerves hit me more than I think they should have or normally would just from the start of the round today, and that's probably it,'' he said, referring to Masters.
There was also the guy in the gallery at No. 10 that yelled out ''Remember the Masters, Jordan'' and other similar comments. While Spieth wasn't sure if they were positive or negative reminders, they certainly provided some motivation.
Spieth made a curling 20-foot birdie at the 10th before a pair of short birdies, then hit a wayward tee shot at the 192-yard 13th, almost immediately pointing his 7-iron to the left and shouting ''Fore!'' He yanked his ball out of the bunker over the green before a chip to inside 3 feet for a bogey.
Then at 14, after hitting his drive into a fairway bunker and shouting after his approach short of the green, he saved par with a 14-footer that rolled just to the right edge before falling into the cup.
After a 20-foot birdie at the par-3 16th, Spieth hit a wayward tee shot at the 17th. The ball ricocheted off the lower leg of a marshal and avoided going into much heavier rough. Spieth signed a glove ''Thanks'' to the marshal, but his approach from 173 yards sailed over the green before he chipped in after relief because it landed against a temporary grandstand.
''One of the luckiest holes I've ever had personally. I hit a guy on the side on the tee ball that goes into the first cut, and then I get that drop and then chip in,'' he said. ''If I'm anyone playing against me, I'd be pretty upset at that.''
Nearly two months before his 23rd birthday, Spieth broke a tie with Tiger Woods for wins at age 22 or younger. The only player with more that young was Horton Smith with 14 from 1928-30.
With the first-prize check of $1.2 million, and a plaid jacket to go with the green one from the Masters, Spieth has earned more than $24 million on the PGA Tour.
When the final group was introduced before teeing off at No. 1, in the shadow of the Wall of Champions, the applause and cheers for Palmer were as loud as those for Spieth.
Palmer opened with consecutive birdies to go a stroke ahead of Spieth for the lead. He got to 14-under after a 12-foot birdie at No. 7, which he followed by reaching back for a hand slap with caddie James Edmondson, the four-time Colonial club champion. That was his last birdie until the 18th.
''The energy out there was spectacular,'' said Palmer, who had his best finish in 13 starts at Colonial. ''You couldn't write a better script for sure. ... Watching what Jordan did, it shows you why he's where he's at.''
Round 3 - Jordan Spieth takes over lead
May 29, 2016
Jordan Spieth is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory in his home state of Texas. Ryan Palmer would love to win on his home course.
Spieth and Palmer, who play a lot of practice rounds together, will be in the last group Sunday for the final round of the Dean & Deluca Invitational. In the back-end of a Texas two-step after the Byron Nelson last week, Spieth was at 12-under 198, a stroke ahead of Colonial member Palmer and Webb Simpson.
''It will be a fun dynamic,'' said Spieth, who shot a 5-under 65 on Saturday, even while missing a lot of fairways and a few greens. ''It'll be cool because as a member, he'll have tons of support and we have had tons of support this week.''
Spieth, who has seven PGA Tour wins, was alone in the lead after three birdies and a huge par save in a four-hole stretch in the middle of his round. The 22-year-old Dallas native tied for second at Hogan's Alley last year, one of his three runner-up finishes in the Lone Star State.
Palmer overcame consecutive early bogeys to shoot 66. Simpson shot 67 after 3-foot par putt at the 18th hole for a share of the lead lipped out of the cup - much like Palmer's short birdie chance there in the previous threesome, though Palmer will be in the final twosome.
''I was so sick and disappointed with the putt I hit on 18, because that was what I wanted,'' Palmer said. ''I wanted to be with him in the final group on my home course in front of my family and friends and in front of the members of Colonial.''
Spieth hit only three of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens in regulation. He drove into the rough and was short of the green on his approach at No. 18, but held his hand over his mouth in some disbelief after his 9-foot par chance slid by the hole for his only bogey.
After a 12-foot birdie at No. 9 to make the turn at 10 under, Spieth's approach at No. 10 went over the green before a wedge shot to about 9 feet and making that putt to save par. He then chipped in from off the front of the green at the 615-yard 11th and hit his approach within a foot at the 12th for another birdie and stayed along at top of the leaderboard after that.
''Felt like I struck the ball well, got off to a good start again and then short game really kept me in it in the middle of the round. So, my scrambling was kind of the key,'' Spieth said. "The up-and-down at 10, that was one of the worst lies I've had in the rough in a long time.''
Spieth went into the final round last weekend at the Nelson alone in second place before a closing 74 that left him tied for 18th in the Irving event where six years ago he played his first PGA Tour as a 16-year-old amateur and tied for 16th.
Palmer, who turns 40 in September, got the last of his three PGA Tour victories in 2010. He missed the cut last year at Colonial.
''This week I told myself I was just going to kind of keep my eye down the middle of the fairway, just fist bump, shake hands with the kids going from tee to green,'' Palmer said. ''But not engage as much and just kind of stay focused and work on the task at hand.''
Simpson had bogeys on two par 3s, but followed both with birdies, including the blast from a bunker into the cup at No. 14.
Martin Piller, in the final group with Spieth and Simpson for the third round, had to play 12 holes earlier in the day to complete the second round that had been suspended by darkness Friday after a 5 1/2-hour weather delay.
Spieth and Simpson both finished their second rounds Friday.
Piller shot a 68 and was tied for fourth at 10 under with Harris English (64) and Kyle Reifers (67).
Like Spieth, Piller was born in Dallas. But Piller lives in north Fort Worth and his wife, LPGA Tour player Gerina Piller, is at Colonial with him while taking a week off her tour before an extended stretch apart for the couple.
Matt Kuchar, ranked 20th in the world, had a bogey-free 63 for his best score in 33 career rounds at Colonial, where he was the runner-up three years ago and had finished his second round Friday with a triple-bogey.
Kuchar moved up 35 places, from a tie for 44th to a tie for ninth, even after a 13-foot birdie chance at No. 18 slid by the hole.
Round 2 - Bryce Molder leads weather hit day
May 28, 2016
Bryce Molder would have a magical number if he could combine his front-nine scores through two days at Colonial into one round.
Bolstered by 11 combined birdies on Nos. 1-9 at Hogan's Alley, Molder had a one-stroke lead with three holes to play Friday in the Dean & Deluca Invitational when second-round play was suspended because of darkness.
''It was kind of tale of two nines even though I didn't finish the second nine,'' Molder said. ''The first nine was really clean. ... Everything was going right.''
At 9 under, Molder was a stroke ahead of Webb Simpson and two in front of second-ranked Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Simpson and Spieth completed their rounds.
Molder was the first-round leader after an opening 64 with six birdies on the front nine. He had five more birdies on that side Friday, which would translate to a 59 - that is the best score ever shot on the PGA Tour.
''You know, I thought about that when I was on No. 6 today,'' Molder said. ''That was fun. I mean, I wish I could have just turned back around, teed off on No. 1 and just kept going because that side has been really good to me.''
Play was stopped at 8:21 p.m. with 61 of the 121 players still on the course. They will return to complete the second round Saturday morning, scheduled to resume just more than 11 hours after stopping. The third round will be played after the cut is made.
Simpson was 8 under after a 67.
Spieth shot a 66 with four birdies in five holes after turning to the front nine.
Reed had 10 holes left. He has a PGA Tour-high eight top-10 finishes this season.
Molder's only slip-up was a double bogey at the 441-yard 12th, when he hit his first two shots into the rough and three-putted from 27 feet not long before play was stopped Friday.
In his first round Thursday, Molder was in the first group off the No. 10 tee. He got to his seventh hole before a 75-minute weather delay, then came out to finish the seventh of his nine consecutive pars before all his birdies on the front side.
There were consecutive birdies after starting at No. 1 on Friday, and Molder hit his approach from 188 yards at the difficult fifth hole to 2 feet for another birdie. He chipped in from the front bunker at the par-3 eighth.
Spieth goes into the weekend in contention at home for the second week in a row, and at Colonial for the second year in a row. He tied for second in the 2015 Colonial, one stroke behind Chris Kirk.
The 22-year-old Dallas native was a stroke out of the lead after two rounds last week at the Byron Nelson, and was alone in second going into the final round before a closing 74 that left him tied for 18th.
This week, Spieth said he is much more comfortable with his swing and his game overall midway through the tournament.
''Much better, yeah. I'd say it's up there close to if I want to have it 100 percent trust by major time. It's creeping up,'' said Spieth, the defending U.S. Open champ playing his third tournament since blowing a five-stroke lead on the back nine when trying to win his second consecutive Masters last month. ''Big step up from last week. It's getting close.''
After starting the second round with a three-putt bogey at the 408-yard 10th, Spieth had a couple of short birdies before another bogey at the 192-yard 16th. His 35-foot downhill putt that he hit at a 90-degree angle picked up speed and went 15 feet past the hole.
His birdie rush after the turn went through Nos. 4 and 5, the 221-yard par 3 followed by the 472-yard hole along the Trinity River that wrap up a difficult trio of holes known as Colonial's ''horrible horseshoe.''
Simpson had 17 consecutive rounds of 70 or higher before an opening 65 at Colonial that he backed up with a round of four birdies and one bogey.
''It was kind of a grind. ... I had to get up-and-down a few more times today and guess out of the rough what the ball was going to do into the green,'' Simpson said. ''But it felt great. Just almost more satisfying today than yesterday because I managed my game.''
Round 1 - Bryce Molder leads by a shot
May 27, 2016
Bryce Molder was joking around with playing partner Scott Langley as the sky darkened over Colonial.
''It was almost like they were about to blow the horn for darkness,'' Molder said.
Except it was early in the morning after Molder - the leader after a 6-under 64- and Langley began play in the first group off the 10th tee Thursday in the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial.
''It wasn't dark to where you can't see the ball flight, but you're kind of reading putts looking a little funny at it,'' Molder said. ''It was dark. It was weird. It was almost like late, late, late in the day.''
They were on the 16th green next to the clubhouse when play was stopped because of rain and lightning in the area. After the 75-minute delay, when clouds thinned considerably, Molder had six birdies in his last nine holes and the 64 held up for a one-stroke lead over Patrick Reed, Anirban Lahiri and Webb Simpson.
Ryan Palmer, the Colonial member whose caddie James Edmondson is the four-time club champion, joined Jason Dufner, Martin Piller and Kyle Reifers in a tie for fifth at 66.
''It's a golf course I can step on to each tee and don't even need my yardage book,'' Palmer said. ''To shoot 4-under out here on a Thursday, you're not hurting.''
Jordan Spieth, the world's No. 2-ranked player, was among nine players at 67 after his breezy afternoon round when he missed the first six fairways. But he hit eight of the first nine greens and 14 overall while carding only one bogey - at the 244-yard, par-3 fourth hole.
''It was so tough to gauge the wind correctly and get the ball close to the hole,'' Spieth said. ''On a day like this, you're just really looking to hit greens in regulation, be as stress-free as possible, and it felt like we were out there.''
Seventh-ranked Adam Scott, who in 2014 won at Colonial to cap his first week at No. 1, had an opening 72 with four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey.
Jason Kokrak was at 6 under and tied with Molder for the lead when he hit a drive in the center of the 18th fairway. But his approach went into the water to the right of the green, as did the next shot after his drop. His quintuple bogey 9 ended a round of 69.
Kevin Chappell (68) had the shot of the day with an eagle on the 387-yard 10th hole when his 8-iron approach from 158 yards went into the hole on the fly.
Molder, with one win in 251 career PGA Tour starts, had his first 18-hole lead since the 2002 Byron Nelson. He finished Thursday with four consecutive birdies - all from at more than 10 feet, including a 20-footer at No. 7 after his drive into a fairway bunker on the 438-yard hole.
His only non-birdies on the front nine were at Nos. 3-5, known as the Horrible Horseshoe because of the layout and difficulty of that trio. He had pars of each of those holes, the 452-yard dogleg left 3rd hole, the long par 3, and the 465-yard 5th hole parallel to the Trinity River.
''I hit a lot of greens early, 20, 30 feet, and just kind of rolled it up close,'' Molder said. ''And then all of a sudden hit a couple close when I made the turn, Nos. 1 and 2, got some close birdies. ... Maybe (the delay) just kind of helped me wake up. Actually, I went back out on the range and just kind of one little tinker here or there and found a little groove for the rest of the 12 holes.''
Langley had a 70.