Jordan Spieth believes his brilliant final round at the Masters can act as the springboard to another successful season.
Spieth admitted he was in a state of “panic”, particularly with his putting, when he struggled to an opening 76 in the Valspar Championship and failed to get beyond the group stages of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
However, the 23-year-old recovered to finish third in the Houston Open in his native Texas and was also third at Augusta National a week later after a scintillating 64 in pursuit of Ryder Cup partner Patrick Reed.
“I think I got on the right path,” Spieth said yesterday ahead of the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, where he will partner Ryan Palmer in the two-man team event. “I was working on things throughout the year, thinking I was doing the right things and I finally feel like I got the short game back on track in Houston and Augusta and to hit those kind of putts under pressure and see some of those go in, I think will be very beneficial going forward this year.
“It very well could be a spark for a really solid year. I’m very pleased off the last couple of tournaments I’ve played and where I’ve come from the month prior to that.”
Spieth began the final round of the Masters nine shots behind Reed, but birdied nine of the first 16 holes to move into a share of the lead before his chances of a fourth major title ended with a terrible tee shot on the 18th which led to a closing bogey.
The European Tour heads to Asia this week, with France’s Alexander Levy seeking back-to-back wins by defending his Volvo China Open title.
Levy’s victory in the Hassan Trophy in Morocco on Sunday lifted him to ninth in the European Ryder Cup points standings ahead of September’s contest at Le Golf National on the outskirts of Paris.
Levy defeated Dylan Frittelli in a play-off at Topwin Golf and Country Club last year to win the China Open for a second time in four years, but will have to overcome fatigue and jet-lag to become the first three-time winner.
He had just two hours sleep before his first practice round at the course.