Date: April 11, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Record-setting Spieth could be Tiger good

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The Masters is Jordan Spieth’s to win or lose. Already.

History says the world No.4, after opening rounds of 64-66 to bolt to 14 under, will win his first green jacket – and comfortably.

Few rounds at Augusta National have ever been lower than today’s six under – and, on top of his breathtaking eight under opener, Spieth, still just 21, is on a pace that nobody has ever matched.

His 36-hole record eclipsed 1976 champion Ray Floyd’s previous best by a stroke.

His five-shot lead over Charley Hoffman in second is the equal best ever, matching Floyd’s in 1976, Jack Nicklaus in 1975 and Herman Keiser in 1946. All three went on to victory.

To paint a slightly more abstract picture of Spieth’s dominance, consider this: Hoffman’s nine-under total would have been good enough for the halfway lead of all but four of the past 35 Masters.

And he’s five back!

The chief reason for Spieth’s dominance is spectacularly simple – he has had just 50 putts through two rounds.

Admittedly many have come as a result of laser irons, but he is exuding a quiet confidence on the greens rarely seen in Augusta veterans, let alone someone in just a second appearance.

That said, Spieth was runner-up last year after leading into the final round – a day he said taught him valuable lessons.

“I learned the weekend of a major that those rounds can seem like two rounds with stuff running through your head and stress levels being higher,” the Emirates Australian Open champion said after his bogey-free second round.

“The hardest thing to do is put aside wanting to win so bad and just going through your (normal) motion and letting my ball-striking happen.

“I had a chance to win last year on Sunday, I’d like that same opportunity this year and this is only the halfway point.

“I’m aware of that and not going to get ahead of myself.

“I’m going to try to stay in the moment, be very patient these last two days and understand it’s going to feel like a whole other tournament.”

Spieth said being paired with his nearest rival in the third round would help his focus, but be far from his chief objective.

“I need not to get focused on anybody else or go scoreboard watching,” he said.

“I (need to) set a goal, understand the course is going to be harder and have that affect my goal (before I set it).

“And then just strike my ball the way I have … pinpoint my (approach) spots and work on my speed on the greens.”

Simple, really.

But if you’d watched his golf in the past two days, that just about sums it up.

He has 15 birdies, 20 pars and just one bogey – and that on one of the easiest holes on the course, the par-5 15th – in the first round.

If he plays anywhere near that level across the weekend, the next marks to fall will be among those nobody thought would ever be reached.

Chiefly, one belonging to Eldrick Tont Woods, whose 1997 total of 18 under par blew minds en route to a 12-shot margin.

Could Spieth be Tiger good? We’re about to find out.