By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Jordan Spieth aimed for the pins and positioned himself beautifully for today’s final round of the PING Invitational at Karsten Creek.
The Dallas resident fired his second straight 69 and has a seven-shot lead after Sunday’s rain-interrupted round. Rain delayed the start of play, and golfers were pulled from the course twice during the day.
The PING Invitational, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, is a 54-hole stroke play tournament at Karsten Creek. The 72-player field features players from 19 states, Canada, the Philippines and Thailand.
Spieth started slowly, bogeying the third hole. He was two shots behind Yi Keun Chang, Diamond Bar, Calif., who was 4-under after birdies on Nos. 1 and 3.
Spieth settled into consistent play until a barrage of birdies lifted him to the top of the leaderboard.
It started with a birdie on No. 9. Spieth went on to birdie the next four holes.
“I had some wedges in my hand and I wanted to fire at some pins,” Spieth said. “Out at Karsten Creek, that could mean birdies or that could mean bogeys or doubles. I was very fortunate they landed in the right spots and I got my putts to drop.”
Spieth was 8-under until No. 16. He decided to hit driver off the tee, and lost the ball. He eventually sank a 12-foot putt for a double bogey. He finished with pars on Nos. 17 and 18.
“It’s just an awkward tee shot with the wind blowing right and you have to hit it left. ... I had been hitting the driver well all day and I decided to go ahead and rip it,” he said.
He pushed the tee shot, the wind caught it and he couldn’t find the ball.
“It was a bad decision. ... I’m glad I fought back and made a 12-footer for double,” he said.
Spieth said he wants to stay aggressive and post another under-par score in the final round. He has posted three-under 69s the first two rounds.
“It’s nice to have a little cushion, but then again it’s Karsten Creek. My lead doesn’t mean anything. I want to set my own goals and shoot under-par again,” he said.
Last year’s champion, Emiliano Grillo of Bradenton, Fla., is second at 1-over par. Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., is in third at 2 over. First-round leader Oliver Schniederjans of Powder Springs, Ga., fired an 80 on Sunday and is 10 strokes back.
In the girls division, first-round leader Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., shot a two-over par 74 on Sunday. She’s 3-under and holds a one shot lead over Moriya Jutanugarn and a two-shot advantage over Moriya’s sister, Ariya.
Kristen Park, Buena Park, Calif., fired a 70, the low score of the day in the girls division.
The rain delays and wind made the second round more difficult for Kim.
“... It was windier so that made club selections harder,” she said. “I was kind of tired after eating and everything. I was kind of out of it.”
Kim has played well in past AJGA events, but she isn’t used to taking a lead into the final round.
“I’m pretty nervous. It’s not often I’ve had the lead after a couple of days. ... I hope that I will be able to hit good shots Monday,” she said.
The Jutanugarn sisters will join Kim in the final pairing today. Park is tied for fourth with Shannon Aubert, Orlando, Fla.