Jordan Spieth will enter the weekend just two off the Emirates Australian Open lead – but it should have been at least one better.
The American wunderkind held his nerve through a trying period – and a volunteer’s wayward boot – to fire a second-round 72 that left him at three under and just two behind leader Greg Chalmers.
But he was at a loss to understand how a shot went to waste after his ball was accidentally moved from alongside the par-three fourth green.
“I hit a good shot in just over the green, (leaving) a basic pitch back on for a tap-in and I guess one of the officials kicked my ball, or stepped on it and it moved about (10cm),” Spieth said.
“I didn’t know that and I was just taking my practice swing when people in the crowd told me what had happened.
“It’s the third time it has happened to me this year, which is really amazing because the ball is just 10 feet (3m) off the green.
“I don’t see how you don’t know where the golf balls are. I mean everybody makes mistakes, but it was on a good patch of grass … then (after) I dropped it, it rolled down into a bare hole spot and I had to deal with the fringe because I couldn’t chip it on the green directly.
“Therefore (the fringe) stopped my ball and I missed my four-footer (for par).
“So really unlucky – I went from having maybe a chance at making a two to a four – and I was not happy going to the next hole.”
Remarkably, it’s the third time the Ryder Cup star
Spieth regathered himself well and finished in a way befitting the world No.14 with two birdies on the tough 8th and 9th holes to claw back earlier lost ground.
After praising playing partner Adam Scott a day earlier for hanging on when things weren’t running his way, Spieth said he’d put that lesson to immediate use.
“It’s not good to play that way early, but it’s nice to be able to hang on and stick around without shooting a big number,” he said.
“That’s why you keep at it when things aren’t going your way … just like Adam did yesterday.”