When most PGA Tour players are comfortable, they strut through a golf course with a carefree and confident demeanor.
When Jordan Spieth is in his happy place, there’s constant chatter, nervous fan interaction, eye rolls and aw-shucks head shaking.
Suffice to say all of these were on display during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, as the former University of Texas star was smack dab in his favorite spot — leading a golf tournament in his home state.
Spieth dug himself out of some tricky scenarios as only he can, weaving his way to a 31 on the back nine at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course, and pushing into a tie for the lead with Matt Wallace at 12 under.
Perhaps his most magnificent escape came on No. 17, when he followed a 334-yard drive into a collection area by opening the face on a wedge and hitting a full flop shot to 30 inches. Spieth tapped in the short birdie putt and rolled his head as if to admit he’d just pulled a Houdini.
“So I guess my ball got onto the cart path and then ran to the end of it. You can miss that tee shot right if you want all day and it stays short of pin high and it’s a pretty easy up and down to that pin. So I was in a tough spot,” he said of the escapade on the second-to-last hole. “Got a drop from the cart path and just ended up on some kind of hardpan stuff. I was looking to lay up way to the left and then walked up to the green and saw that that was just as difficult as going at the hole, so I figured may as well go to the hole in case I pull the shot off.
“I think I told Wally it was like a one in 10, but it was maybe like a one in five. It’s kind of like a half-long bunker shot almost. For it to go the right distance is certainly fortunate, but I was just trying to make four and got a bonus out of it.”