Jordan Spieth triumphs at the Texas Open: First win since 2017 sets up Green Jacket glory bid

The 27-year-old confirmed his return to form by holding off the challenge of tournament specialist Charley Hoffman at TPC San Antonio.

Will we reflect, at the end of this week, that Jordan Spieth victories are a bit like London buses?

That you wait two years and eight months for one and then two come one after the other?

On the one hand that prospect seems ridiculous, but on the other it would surprise very few in golf - Spieth has more than enough chutzpah and flare to achieve something that outrageous.

In winning the Texas Open last week he proved that the improved results in the early months of 2021 were no flash in the pan.

His final round 6-under-par 66 completed a total for the week of 18-under 270 which left him two shots clear of Charley Hoffman.

It was a 15th worldwide career victory and one that will have tasted a lot sweeter than he would have imagined when he chalked up win No. 14 in the middle of 2017.

Between then and now he has endured the loss of form, fitness and his mojo, but he has endured it all with an honesty and willingness to talk about it that has further endeared him to the watching public.

Is golf a better sport for having Spieth chatter away at his ball in flight? For having him find trouble and extricate himself from it? For having him hole an outrageous number of long putts? For having him travel down Magnolia Lane with a live possibility of contending?

You bet it is.

He was 66/1 to win the Masters last November and now he is 9/1 with Paddy Power.

There's absolutely no doubt about it: Spieth's back and he will command a lot of headlines and attention this week.

Let's take a closer look at his win in Texas and his chances of earning back-to-back success.

Triumph in Texas

In one sense, we felt it was coming. In another, we needed to see Spieth lift a trophy before we dared believe he was fully revived.

The signs were good in the first three months of the year: he landed three top four finishes, but he also lost ground on the leaders in every final round he played.

Quietly, without hype, Spieth insisted that he was reacquainting himself with the pressure of being in-contention - and he proved it at TPC San Antontio.

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Going into the final round it was clear that the final three-ball (himself, his co-leader Matt Wallace and third placed Charley Hoffman) held all the aces.

Spieth reached the turn in 3-under to grab the lead and, despite being pushed right to the final hole by Hoffman, he never really looked like conceding it.

He ranked only T66th for Greens in Regulation in traditional stats, but was top six for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Approach, Around the Green and Putting.

And when he did hit the green to give himself a look at birdie, no-one performed better. Vintage Spieth.

In his own words

On the relief and the tussle with Hoffman:

"I honestly thought I would be more emotional at the end, but I'm kind of glad I'm not. It was a fun battle today. I was standing there with (my caddie) Michael at the end and I was like 'C'mon, Charley, throw me a bone, throw me a bone.'"

On the wait:

"It has been a long time. There's peaks and valleys in this sport. I never expected to go this long. Back then, I maybe took more for granted than I should have. It's very difficult to win out here."

Spieth loves Augusta National
Spieth loves Augusta National

On the toil:

"There were some key moments here and there, different periods when I felt like things were turning around. There are also moments I look back on where I hit balls till my hands bled and I wasn't doing the right thing and I just went home, thought about it, losing sleep. This sport can take you a lot of different directions."

On getting close in 2021:

"I've had a chance over maybe three or four different Sundays in the last two months and today was by far the best that I played."

On the Masters:

"Whether I missed the cut this week or I won the golf tournament, there would be very little difference in my mindset going into Thursday at Augusta. But certainly there is still a bit of difference, in that I had to hit shots under pressure. I have minor adjustments to make as we go into the practice days."

Spieth's bursts of form

Most books this week are offering plenty of places in their each way betting this week (some as many as 10) and, whilst Spieth's price is short, it's well worth looking at his ability to string top finishes together.

In his 212 career starts, despite that long loss of form, he's had eight strings of at least three top 10 finishes in a row (which he would complete again with a top 10 at Augusta).

He's also completed back-to-back wins twice before, both times including Major Championship wins.

The first time was in 2015 when winning the US Open and John Deere Classic. Two years later he won the Travelers Championship and the Open.

Spieth at Augusta

As course records go, it's not bad.

He finished second on debut in 2014, went wire-to-wire in 2015, and was on track to do the same in 2016 until blowing up at the 12th (he finished second again).

He added T11th in 2017 and third in 2018 before the slump prompted just T21st and T46th in the last two visits.

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Incredibly, in his first three visits, he had the solo lead after seven rounds and shared it on one other occasion.

It makes for a persuasive argument to back him, but another alternative is to take him to ride the Texas wave and grab the first round lead because he's ended Thursday at Augusta with the solo 18 hole advantage three times.

He's 9/1 to win the tournament and 16/1 to be the first round leader.

READ MORE: A look at Jon Rahm's hopes of glory in the 2021 Majors

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