Can Jordan Spieth land his first win since 2017? Final round preview of the Texas Open

The American is tied for the 54 hole lead with Englishman Matt Wallace at TPC San Antonio and is hoping for the perfect Texan send-off ahead of next week’s Masters.

You think the last year has gone slowly?

For Jordan Spieth that problem - time - has stretched for no less than three years and eight months.

Right back to 23rd July 2017, in fact: the last time he tasted victory in the Open at Royal Birkdale.

In huge contrast, in the three years and eight months up to and including that day, he won 11 times around the world, including three major championships.

He was a phenomenon - a freakishly good long putter who adored Augusta National, home to next week's Masters.

But then it all went horribly wrong and it was not just the wins that dried up, but the top fives as well.

He didn't claim one of them between May 2019 and the start of this year.

Then, suddenly, Spieth bounced back and heading to TPC San Antonio for this week's Texas Open he had logged three top fives and, more importantly still, had rediscovered his mojo, holing outrageous putts and walking the fairways with a bounce in his step.

On Saturday he and Matt Wallace played in the final three-ball and both posted 5-under-par rounds of 67 to total 12-under 204, good for a share of the 54 hole lead, two blows clear of Charley Hoffman (65) who himself is two ahead of Cameron Tringale (73).

Hoffman is a course specialist who has responded brilliantly to a first round 75, but Wallace and Tringale have never won on the PGA Tour.

Surely Spieth's opportunity to break his drought, priced by Paddy Power at evens, is golden?

Let's take a closer look.

Spieth's record with a 54 hole lead

At first glance, Spieth is strong from the lead: he's claimed 10 wins from 19 third round leads.

But he's 8-for-12 with the solo advantage and just 2-for-7 when he shares the lead.

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Wallace is 1-for-3 on the European Tour with a shared lead and Hoffman is in his sweet-spot: his four wins on the PGA Tour have come when he was third or fourth with 18 holes to play.

What they say

Spieth on his Saturday, being in-contention and setting himself up for Augusta:

"I hit some really nice shots towards the end of the round, left the ball in the right spots when it was missed and, really, I just did a great job managing today. I didn't feel like I had great control of the golf ball.

"It's nice feeling comfortable under pressure, I think that's the most important thing. You start doing it more often and you feel more comfortable under pressure and that's kind of why we play the game at this level, that's what's fun for us.

"Winning any PGA TOUR event is a very, very difficult thing to do and I've certainly been humbled in that process over the last few years. So first, I'm focused on this week, always have been. I haven't thought ahead whatsoever. I thought the best prep for next week is to work yourself into contention and just kind of see where all facets of the game are under pressure."

Wallace on being in Texas and his experience of winning in the past:

"Started off lovely, that settles you down. I felt nervous, but that's a good thing because I haven't been in that situation for a while, you know, with fans and being in Jordan's home state. I was probably third on the list of who people were rooting for out of the group. Hopefully I won over some fans there today. I'm very happy with today's work.

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"There's times in rounds where you know you need to make things happen. I've had that all of my wins and even in mini-tour events. You know that moment when you have a chance. So I'll prepare myself for that, I'll think of the good stuff, the holed putts this week, shots I've pulled off, and that should see me in good stead."

Hoffman on his turnaround and the strategy on Sunday:

"Something clicked late on Thursday. And, this course, it's something that fits my eye. I was just cruising (early in round three). I was only a couple under and obviously just trying to get back in the tournament. I wasn't really near the lead at that point. Three late birdies were very important.

"I expect you've to go out and make birdies tomorrow. It's not going to be a day that par gets you to win a golf tournament."

TPC San Antonio winner's trends

The front runners have a strong record.

Six of the 10 winners on the track held or shared the lead at this stage and no less than eight were T3rd or better (including all of the last seven).

The two exceptions were first winner Adam Scott in 2010 (T6th) and Martin Laird in 2013 (T7th).

Going wider, the last three winners here ranked first or second for Strokes Gained Approach and top three for Greens in Regulation, both stats backing up that this is a ball striker's course.

Conclusion

The leading trio hold the aces based on those stats, but how do the three rank in those crucial categories?

Spieth is fourth for SG Approach, but only 59th for Greens in Regulation.

Wallace is second and fourth, Hoffman 10th and sixth.

Hoffman makes an interesting case - he's recovered superbly from that lamentable Thursday effort, flying in both categories since. What happens next, though? Does he continue to ride the wave or hit the wall?

Paddy Power have priced Spieth evens, Wallace 9/4, Hoffman 5/1.

READ MORE: Patty Tavatanakit on brink of stunning win, Inbee chases: Final round preview of the ANA Inspiration

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