PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA (AP) – Bill Murray was going about his business as usual.
Jordan Spieth, on the other hand, was doing Jordan Spieth things.
There’s even one thing that’s harmful.
On another beautiful day on the Monterey Peninsula, where the sun shone brightly through the clouds, the temperature was pleasant, and the breezes were gentle, Pebble Beach was in full bloom Saturday, hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am celebrity field.
Murray, who was wearing a dark blue golf glove on his left hand and a bright yellow glove on his right, was in charge of the group. He interacted with and played to the thousands of spectators that lined the course, cracking more jokes than he took shots. He posed for a slew of photos, signed a slew of autographs, and even lead a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Michele, a fan.
To put it another way, the Ghostbusters star was being himself.
At one point, however, it was the ever-enthralling Spieth who took command of the stage.
Spieth stated after the round of a shot he hit on the par-4 eighth hole that had hearts racing, “I just saw the blimp shot from overhead and it really bothered me.”
Spieth was making his way back into contention with birdies on his first two holes and an eagle from three feet on the sixth when he became must-see television.
On the steep eighth, his tee shot came perilously near to going over the brink, with the ball winding up about two feet from the edge. Spieth ignored his caddie’s request to take a drop away from the risk and instead chose to go for the green by taking the direct approach over the precipice.
His left foot was dangerously close to the cliff’s edge, and one slip could result in a 100-foot plummet to the bottom in front of him.
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Many others thought Spieth was flirting with death.
“Normally, this is a terrifying shot,” CBS commentator Colt Knost said as the shot was being set up. “However, this is terrifying.”
With his balance in doubt and the fear that a bad follow through might send him over the edge, Spieth took a huge swing with around 155 yards to the flagstick, and the ball wound up just past the green. He chipped the ball to 12 feet and sank the par putt.
“I didn’t understand how serious that was until I went up to it,” said Spieth, who walked up to the ball on tiptoes. “It’s really strange.” I’ve never been in a situation where you can see a ball, take a swing at it, but not play it. So it was sort of strange because I was thinking, ‘Well, if I can swing at it and hit it, why would I take a drop?’ So it’s a unique position; generally, if you walk into a hazard and see a ball, you strike it out.
“Michael (his caddy, Greller) despised it. He tried three times to talk me out of it. Looking back, I can’t say I blame him. I’m simply thrilled I got enough points to make it worthwhile. It was more of a nervous and adrenaline rush, and then as I got to the green and was walking there, it was more of an anxiety feeling, which wasn’t there before.”
Jordan then went on to do Jordan things by making birdie on the ninth hole. On the 11th, there will be another. He scored birdie on the 14th hole after a three-putt bogey on the 13th, despite driving his ball closer to the sixth fairway than the 14th fairway.
On the 15th, another birdie came in from 12 feet. On the 17th, another from eight feet. Spieth, the 2017 Pebble Beach champion, signed for a 9-under-par 63 to close to within one stroke of the lead.
On the Monterey Peninsula, Murray and Spieth weren’t the only bright lights.
Beau Hossler, seeking his first PGA Tour victory, blasted 65 at Pebble Beach and advanced to 15 under par. Andrew Putnam, who shot 68 at Pebble Beach after birdieing five straight holes on the front nine, and first-round leader Tom Hoge, who shot 68 at Spyglass, were also there.
“Isn’t it amazing how rapidly Pebble can give and take?” Hossler added, “I was pleased to be on the receiving end today.” “I struck it well, played carefully, despite the fact that it didn’t appear that way, and was fortunate that no misses got me into serious trouble.” It was about as stress-free as it gets around here.
“I was fortunate today in that I was able to give myself some good looks, and I rolled the putter brilliantly.” I was able to go into the house reasonably clean, I didn’t have too much tension, and I’m satisfied with where the game is at this point.”
Joel Dahmen, who shot 66 at Spyglass, and Patrick Cantlay, who tied for third last year at Pebble Beach, were also at 14 under. He is the PGA Tour Player of the Year and the reigning FedEx Cup champion. He has two wins and two top ten finishes in his last four appearances. He kept up his good form at Pebble Beach, shooting a 68 to go to 14 under par in his quest for a seventh PGA Tour victory.
“I’m in a terrific position, and I love this golf course,” Cantlay said. “And everyone will be playing on the same golf course tomorrow, so it should be entertaining.”
Seamus Power, whose 128 total in the first two rounds tied for the tournament lead, led by a tournament-tying five strokes coming into the third round at the Monterey Peninsula Shore Course, but struggled with a 74 to fall to 13 under.
But of all the events on Saturday, it will be Spieth and his perilous trip near the cliffs that will be remembered the most.
Spieth was asked how he planned to explain what he did to his wife, Annie, who was with the couple’s newborn son, Sammy, who was attending his first event, as he wrapped up his post-round interview.
Spieth remarked, “I’m not sure what’s going to happen there.” “I can’t fathom what she was thinking as she was watching it live.” My parents are also here, so I have to explain not only to my wife, but also to my mother and father.”
He did an excellent job of explaining the shot to the press, though.
“My footing was firm,” Spieth recalled, “but I didn’t have much room past where my left foot was, and the difficulty was that it was down-sloped.” “It’s the downslope that concerns you because, on a downslope, you’re moving further forward to your left side in order to achieve the strike, right?” You want your weight to be evenly distributed throughout the slope. That time, I didn’t want my weight on the slope.
“I was almost sitting there thinking, is it worth it because, yes, I can get a strike on it, but am I going to back up out of fear (during the swing) and just thin this out in the water, like kind of top it?”
Spieth, on the other hand, struggled to explain his actions to Greller.
“Michael kept trying to persuade me not to do it,” Spieth said. “I was just trying to think clearly about what my options are in this situation.” I would have pulled the ball back and dropped it if I thought I was in serious danger of losing my life.
“It wasn’t quite as bad as that.” But it was enough that I couldn’t hit it with a normal swing or shot. But (Greller) stated that if it happens again, he’ll walk up to me, grab my ball, and throw it in the water, making it impossible for me to hit it.
“‘I should have done it,’ he added.”
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