Back after winning three major championships by 23 and rising to world No. 1, then not winning anything at all and free-falling to around 100. Back after having every man, woman and child with clubs and a keyboard offering a theory as to why. Back after a late-winter tease — a share of the 54-hole lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, then an outright third-round lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am the week later.
After 1,351 days since his last victory, at the 2017 Open Championship, Jordan Spieth is a winner once again. He shot rounds of 67, 70, 67, then a final-round 66 at TPC San Antonio to win the Valero Texas Open at TPC by two over Charley Hoffman and four over Matt Wallace. It’s his 12th PGA Tour victory, and 14th overall.
But back to this week first. This is Spieth, who in the best of times and the worst of times plays a round as up and down as his career arc. Sunday was no different, though most of it came from Hoffman.
Each player shot six under. Spieth birdied 2, 3, 6, 8, 12, 14 and 17 — and could never build more than a three-shot lead. Hoffman birdied 3, 5, 6, 13 and 14, then dropped a 19-footer on 16 for another birdie to pull within one shot. But Spieth would birdie the par-4 17th after hitting his approach to 4 feet, then he and Hoffman parred 18, and Spieth hung on. Just like he used to.
The big takeaway
One of the game’s most talented and popular players has seemingly figured things out again. Golf has its best story of the year. And now comes four majors.
The big shots
- Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace begin the round tied for the lead at 12 under. Charley Hoffman is two shots back. They are all playing in the same group.
- Spieth and Wallace birdie the 595-yard, par-5 2nd hole to move to 13 under. Spieth hit his approach shot to 7 feet, while Wallace was home in two and two-putted.They lead by three over Hoffman.
- Spieth birdies the 174-yard, par-3 3rd hole to move to 14 under, and he leads by one over Wallace and three over Hoffman, who also birdied the hole. Spieth hit his tee shot to 2 feet.
- Spieth and Wallace bogey the 472-yard, par-4 4th hole. Spieth moves to 13 under, and he leads by one over Wallace and two over Hoffman. Spieth and Wallace had hit their tee shots right and had to punch out.
- Wallace misses a 5-foot birdie putt on the 386-yard, par-4 5th hole that would have given him a share of the lead. Hoffman then birdies to move within one shot of Spieth and tie Wallace.
- Spieth and Hoffman birdie the 407-yard, par-4 6th hole. Spieth moves to 14 under and leads by one over Hoffman and two over Wallace. Spieth hit his approach to 11 feet.
- Spieth birdies the 599-yard, par-5 8th hole. He moves to 15 under, and he leads by two over Hoffman and three over Wallace. Spieth hit his approach to 6 feet. Wallace had missed a birdie putt of his own.
- Spieth makes a 10-footer for par on the 401-yard, par-4 11th hole. He hit his approach into a right greenside bunker, then got up and down. Hoffman had hit into rocks left of the fairway, punched out, then made a 7-footer for par.
- Spieth makes a 13-footer for birdie on the 422-yard, par-4 12th hole. He moves to 16 under, and he leads by three over Hoffman and four over Wallace. Hoffman had into a left greenside bunker from 119 yards out with his second shot.
- Hoffman chips in from off the green for birdie on the 183-yard, par-3 13th hole after Spieth had hit his tee shot within 10 feet. Spieth misses his birdie putt, and he leads by two over Hoffman and four over Wallace.
- Spieth and Hoffman birdie the 576-yard, par-5 14th. Both players are putting with their second shots, and after Hoffman taps in for his birdie, Spieth matches him by rolling in an 8-footer. Spieth leads by two over Hoffman and five over Wallace, who lipped out his birdie putt.
- Spieth and Hoffman par the 474-yard, par-4 14th. Spieth, from off the green with his third shot, pitches to 8 inches, while Hoffman gets up and down from a right greenside bunker. Spieth leads by two over Hoffman and five over Wallace.
- Hoffman birdies the 180-yard, par-3 16th on a 19-foot putt to pull within one shot of Spieth. Spieth is at 17 under, Hoffman 16.
- Spieth rolls in a 4-footer for birdie on the 366-yard, par-4 17th, and Hoffman makes a par. Heading to the final hole, Spieth is at 18 under and leads by two.
- On the 608-yard, par-5th 18th, Spieth and Hoffman made pars, and Spieth won by two shots for his first win since the 2017 Open Championship.
The final word
“There’s some key moments here and there, different time periods where I felt like things were turning around. There’s also moments I look back on where I hit balls till my hands bled and I wasn’t doing the right thing and I just went home thought about it; sleeping, lost sleep. This sport can take you a lot of different directions. So I think it’s just most important to embrace when I have moments like this and just really appreciate them and keep my head down, keep the process that I’m doing. Obviously things are starting to work without feeling like I quite have it all, so that’s a really good sign. Take some confidence into next week as well.” — Jordan Spieth