Last year may have signified Jordan Spieth’s breakthrough on the PGA Tour, but it is this season that he has really made a name for himself.
The 20-year-old has only been a professional for 20 months, but already has breached the top ten in the golf rankings and his rise is showing no signs of stopping.
Spieth’s real announcement came at the first major of the year, The Masters, where his brilliance and lack of experience were both plainly evident.
The American went into the final day at Augusta with a share of the lead, alongside Bubba Watson, but struggled to cope with the pressure as he slipped away from his playing partner, who had previously won at Augusta in 2012, and allowed Watson to claim the title for the second time in his career.
He then backed up his Masters showing with a brilliant display at the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event, where he was in contention to win after 54 holes once again but a poor final day cost him.
But Spieth is a fast learner – he has already shown that during his brief career so far and, now, as he prepares for US Open, he feels he will be able to cope with being at the top of the leaderboard better than before.
"I learned a lot from both experiences," Spieth said to reporters.
"I felt like I struck the ball better, played smarter shots at The Players. I just got bounces that didn't go my way. So coming in here, that's all behind me. I've gotten what I think I needed to learn from those experiences, and I will put that into account if I can work my way into contention here."
However, whilst many would feel content and relax after such an encouraging start to their season at such a tender age, Spieth is already looking to the future – he wants to win a major, he’s not happy with finishing second.
As such, his target for the upcoming week at Pinehurst is to finish at the front of the field. Anything else will be a failure.
"I believe that I can win this golf tournament," Spieth said to reporters after his second practice round of the course. "I feel comfortable on this golf course. I think it fits my game. And when I step on the first tee, that's what I'm trying to do.
"I've contended now. If I can get into that position, the goal isn't just to feel the feelings and try to get the comfort level. Now, it's to really try and put into place what Augusta as well as The Players have taught me.
"I feel like I will be able to close this one out if I get an opportunity."
If form is anything to go by it is likely he’ll have a chance of winning on the final day, too.
Spieth has been a regular at the right end of leaderboards on Sundays this season and six top ten finishes already this season is testament to this.
However, he still hasn’t been able to convert one of these high-placed finishes into a victory, as he chases a maiden win of the season. The US Open wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
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