Jordan Speith took the golfing world by storm in 2013. Then 20, he dropped out of the University of Texas to turn professional without any status on any tour. While many at the same time were going the route of the Web.com Tour via Q-School or even the European Tour like Brooks Koepka or Peter Uihlein, Speith went another route.
He took sponsors exemptions and tried to battle his way onto the tour. He finished second at the Puerto Rico Open to earn a spot into the following week’s event where he recorded another top 10 finish. He continued to grind out top 10 finishes that got him automatic spots in the field the following week for most of the season. Then at the John Deere Classic he holed out a bunker shot on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff. He turned that into a win and a full fledged PGA Tour membership. At just 20 years old he was the next big thing.
Fast forward one year and 2014 seemed to be the season of almost for Speith. He finished runner up to Russell Henley at the Tournament of Champions, he hung around for three and a half rounds at the Masters before falling to Bubba Watson, and he went shot for shot down to the wire with Martin Kaymer at The Players before finishing fourth.
It wasn’t all bad for Speith though. He finished with 8 top 10 finishes and, with partner Patrick Reed, was easily one of the breakout starts for the Americans at the Ryder Cup. One thing was missing though, that second win.
That came this weekend, on the other side of the globe at the Australian Open.
Putting together what he called “the best round he ever played”, Speith shot a final round 63 on the very difficult Australian Golf Club course to run away with the event, winning by six shots.
“It’s the best round I have ever played, especially considering the conditions,” Spieth said. “It was just kind of one of those rounds when you’re in the zone and you’re not sure what you’re at. It’s nice that it came on a Sunday.”
He took a three shot lead into the turn after four birdies in a five hole stretch and then shut the door on everyone on the back nine as the conditions continued to get harder and windier.
The 63 was a course record for the Jack Nicklaus designed course and Speith wasn’t the only one that took notice of the special round. World Number One and Palm Beach Gardens resident Rory Mcllroy, who finished 15 shots behind Speith, took to twitter to comment on the round.
You could give me another 100 rounds today at The Australian and I wouldn’t sniff 63…. Well done @JordanSpieth very impressive!
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) November 30, 2014
With the win, Speith became the first American born player to win the Australian Open since Brad Faxon won the event in 1993, the year Speith was born. In addition, Speith creeps ever so closer to getting into the Top 10 in the World Golf Rankings as he now goes to number 11.
For Speith, he will look to use this event as stepping stone for 2015 and go the same route that Rory Mcllroy went last year. Mcllroy won the event last year for his only win of 2014 and then spring boarded it into a historic 2014 season that saw him win multiple majors and the Player of the Year award on both tours.
“If I had the follow-up year that Rory had this year, I’d be pleased this time next year,” Spieth said.
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