Jordan Spieth overcame putting woes to claim his 10th PGA Tour title with a win at the Travelers Championship, beating Daniel Berger on the first hole of a play-off.
The 23-year-old made two three putts and missed a birdie from four foot on the back nine as he lost a three-shot lead and was taken to a play-off; he holed out from the bunker on the first hole though to see through victory and make it eight victories from nine when he’s had the 54-hole lead.
Spieth started the day at 12-under-par with a one-shot lead over playing partner Boo Weekley; and after opening with two birdies and going out in 34, he extended his lead to two heading onto the back nine. Meanwhile Danny Lee made an early move going out in 32 to move from five shots off the lead to three.
Weekley’s approach to the 10th left him a downslope, distance, green-side bunker-shot to the pin as Spieth knocked his to 15-feet. Weekley’s recovery was better than average but he still had to settle for bogey and fall three back.
With a birdie on the 15th, Charley Hoffman joined both Weekley and Lee at 10-under-par, still three shots behind the convincing leader. However, having found a fairway bunker on the 12th, Spieth was unable to get close and a three-putt shortened his lead to two with six to play. Berger would gain a shot with a birdie on the par five 13th to move himself to 10-under-par and into a four-way tie for second.
Spieth’s grip almost loosened further as he came perilously close to the water off the tee on the 13th. Nevertheless, the Texan hacked out of the thick rough, pitched onto the green and left himself four feet for birdie; he would miss the putt but should see it as a salvaged par from the position of his tee shot, especially as Weekley would only manage par himself.
The seemingly unassailable lead was soon lost, however. Berger made another birdie on the 15th to move to 11-under, one shot back; Spieth would then take three putts again on the 14th to drop back and lose what-was-a three-shot lead to now tie for the lead with Berger as Weekley, Hoffman and Lee all sat just one back.
Spieth quickly grabbed his lead back though. Walking after his birdie putt on the 15th in dismay, he was as surprised as anyone to see it drop to move him back to 12-under-par. He followed that with a par on the 16th but Berger would pile the pressure right back on by sinking a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th to make it a tie for the lead again.
From the green-side bunker on the 18th, Berger made par to close out a final round of 67 and a score of 12-under-par. Spieth drove to the middle of the fairway from the tee knowing a birdie would seal his 10th PGA Tour title. He came up short, though, finding the bunker but would up-and-down to take it to a play-off.
Back on the 18th Berger’s drive off the tee went well left but Spieth would go further by crashing it into a tree. He was left with 227 yards to the pin from the fairway as opposed to Berger’s 155 yards from the rough. Spieth found the same bunker as last time out whilst Berger slipped out to the left of the green. Spieth would only require one shot from the bunker though as he holed out for victory at TPC River Highlands.