REUTERS - Defending champion Jordan Spieth ended an up-and-down week on a “very satisfying” note as he closed with a sparkling eight-under-par 65 for a share of third place at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday.
Having carded three bogeys, two doubles and a triple-bogey over the previous two days at the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui, Spieth rebounded in flawless style with eight birdies in the final round, including five in the last seven holes.
“That was very satisfying,” the world number five told reporters after finishing at 16-under 276, six strokes behind his friend Justin Thomas, who clinched his third PGA Tour victory.
“I had five over-par holes on each day the last two days that really kind of took my chances away at this tournament but to come back and fire a strong one today ... I certainly take a lot of confidence off this round going into next week.”
Spieth, who won last year’s Tournament of Champions by eight shots at Kapalua, will make his second PGA Tour appearance of the year at the Jan. 12-15 Sony Open in Honolulu.
While Spieth has already piled up eight PGA Tour victories by the age of 23, including two major crowns, he took great pleasure in the winning form produced by the long-hitting Thomas.
”He’s always been an extremely high calibre player, he’s been the best at each level that he’s gone through,“ Spieth said of his fellow 23-year-old. ”Course management-wise, it’s always an adjustment coming out on the PGA Tour from college golf. “For him, it (the biggest challenge) has just been controlling the driver a little bit and he’s been doing that tremendously well over the last year. Obviously he was doing things just fine out here today.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Peter Rutherford