The Punter's De-Brief: Spieth ends drought ahead of US Masters

Golfer Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth with his new trophy

Jordan Spieth is back in the winner's circle but can he follow Sunday's success with another victory at Augusta? Read Steve's thoughts on the Texan's historic back-to-back attempt...

"I thought I’d have a quick look to see if Jordan had won back-to-back events before and not only has he done so, he’s done so when winning majors."

Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace began the final round of the Valero Texas Open tied for the lead and two clear of Charley Hoffman. The trio dominated the event on Sunday.

First to make a move was pre-event 160.00159/1 chance, Wallace, who played his second shot to within 16 feet of the pin on the par five second hole, after both Spieth and Hoffman had been forced to lay up having found sand off the tee.

The Englishman was matched at just 2.285/4 before Spieth played his third from the fairway but that was as a low as he traded.

Wallace missed his eagle putt and Spieth matched his birdie from just inside eight feet before stiffing his tee-shot on the par three third to within two-and-a-half feet.

Spieth tapped in the birdie two on three to go odds-on and, although he dropped a shot on the fourth, so too did Wallace. When the Englishman missed a five-footer to draw level again at five, it was Hoffman who applied the pressure after that.

Pre-tournament 34.033/1 shot and course specialist, Hoffman, who was matched at 1000.00 after a dreadful start on Thursday, was matched at a low of 2.6213/8 when he rolled in a birdie putt from 17 feet on the sixth to draw level with Spieth.

They were level for a moment only, though, as Spieth responded brilliantly by rolling in his own birdie putt from 11 feet. By the time they stood on the 13th tee, Spieth had eased to a lead of three.

Hoffman rallied on the back-nine and got to within one when he birdied the 16th. But he couldn't match Spieth's birdie three at the drivable par four 17th and that was the end of that.

Spieth, who was matched at a high of 19.018/1 before Dustin Johnson withdrew on Monday, was the 15.014/1 pre-event favourite but he hadn't won since the 2017 Open Championship, so he went a lengthy 1351 days between wins.

With three top-four finishes in his previous six starts, the victory didn't come out of the blue and, having been matched at a high of 85.084/1 when the market first opened, he's now a 13.012/1 chance to win this week's US Masters, which I've previewed here.

My Bets

It's been a quiet week but a nicely profitable one.

Pre-event pick Branden Grace was a disappointment and the three I backed after round one were equally poor but taking on the halfway leader, Cameron Tringale, in the win, top five and top 10 markets made it a decent enough week. He finished tied for ninth with two others.

Having backed Matt Wallace at halfway at 10.09/1, I layed a bit back before the final round at 3.613/5 and I also backed him to win his three-ball on Saturday at an average of 4.3100/30. He only tied with Spieth but it still made for a decent return.

Place your faith in Patton next year

Although he was playing at TPC San Antonio for the first time, Patton Kizzire was one of my Find Me a 100 Winner selections last week at 160.00159/1 because of his victories at the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. Both host courses correlate nicely with TPC San Antonio and he'll be worth backing again next year if he's in any sort of form.

Kizzire started the tournament slowly and he needed to birdie three of his last five holes on Thursday to post a one-under-par 71. In Friday's windy conditions he could only muster a two-over-par 74 and Saturday's 70 was a frustrating round given he bogeyed two of the par fives but he really got on a roll yesterday, firing the best round of the day - a seven-under-par 65 to finish tied for ninth.

Can Spieth go back-to-back?

As Justin's tweet below shows, winning the US Masters on the back of a victory the week before isn't common but should Spieth take the title again on Sunday, he wouldn't be setting a precedent.

I thought I'd have a quick look to see if Jordan had won back-to-back events before and not only has he done so, he's done so when winning majors.

Back in 2015 he won the John Deere Classic in his first start after winning the US Open and he won the Open Championship in 2017 in his first start after his victory at the Travelers Championship.

Spieth took a break of around a month in-between both of those back-to-back victories so it's not like winning in back-to-back weeks but his victory in Texas can't possibly be construed as a negative.

Spieth has held his form for several weeks on a number of occasions and a week after winning the John Deere Classic in 2015, he missed out on the playoff at the Open Championship at St Andrews by a solitary stroke.

When he won the US Masters in 2015, he did so after a very busy little spell. Having won the Valspar, he returned to action two weeks later to finish runner-up to Jimmy Walker at the Valero Texas Open and seven days later, exactly a week before he won at Augusta, he was beaten in a playoff at the Houston Open. Writing him off because he won on Sunday looks like folly.

I'll be back later in the week with a look at the side markets at Augusta and with the Find Me a 100 Winner column but you can find my US Masters preview here.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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