Jordan Spieth unconvinced of Open changes after back-nine struggles

Jordan Spieth unconvinced of Open changes after back-nine struggles
USA's Jordan Spieth on the 18th during day three of The Open Championship 2016 at Royal Troon Golf Club, South Ayrshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

World number three Jordan Spieth had mixed feelings about the changes to the course set-up after squandering a flying start to the third round of the Open Championship.

Spieth, who was one of a number of top players to make the cut on the mark of four over par, carded four birdies in his first seven holes at Royal Troon to get back to level par for the tournament.

But the two-time major winner, who missed out on the play-off at St Andrews last year by a single shot, then bogeyed the ninth and 10th and ran up a double bogey on the 11th on his way to a disappointing 72.

With winds forecast to gust up to 30mph, tournament organisers had opted not to cut or roll the greens and moved tees forward on the eighth, 11th, 16th and 17th.

"I was disappointed that the tees were up on 16 and 17," Spieth said. "I don't think that did anything to it. Not disappointed, I think it was unnecessary.

"But the one on eight is pretty cool so it's under 100 yards now and you're trying to figure out what club to hit and how to hit it, where to hit it, almost where to lay up. For how strong the wind was when we were on the tee, I thought that was a great set-up."

Spieth was one of the players critical of the decision to resume play in the delayed second round in high winds on Saturday morning last year, with only 32 minutes of play possible before it was suspended as balls were blown out of position.

At the time, Ian Poulter told Press Association Sport: "Should they have cut holes 1-5 and 13-18 and not the rest? Should they have cut any greens at all? Louis (Oosthuizen) had a three-foot putt on 13, then he had a one-foot putt, then he had an eight-foot putt - and didn't touch the ball once."

Spieth had the opposite problem of touching the ball too often with his putter at Troon, adding: "I'm hitting the ball great, I'm just really struggling on the greens this week.

"I'm struggling reading them and then because of that I have a tough time hitting a nice, solid putt on a line and being confident about it. I've missed four putts maybe inside of five feet today - a couple from two feet.

"That's something that normally doesn't happen, but I'm just going to put it (down) to this week and forget about it by the time I get to the PGA."

With the wind offering assistance on the majority of the front nine, Jason Day took full advantage and birdies on the second, fourth, seventh and ninth took the world number one to three under par.

That was seven shots behind halfway leader Phil Mickelson, who was due out at 3:20pm alongside nearest challenger Henrik Stenson, who finished runner-up to the five-time major winner at Muirfield in 2013.

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