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A chat with his father helps Spieth adjust to putting; Austin CC confirmed for next year

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SAN FRANCISCO — A chat with his father and a couple of overtime matches that delayed the start of Jordan Spieth's second day at TPC Harding Park might have paid off Thursday in the Match Play Championship.

The green are firm when they receive shots and they feel that way under foot. Spieth, however, said they are rolling slower that it would seem.

The phone call with his father helped.

"He's not here. He can't see any of the putts other than watching coverage," Spieth said. "But he made a point that I have struggled in the past when I go from faster greens to slower greens the next week or within two weeks, making the adjustment and trusting it. And he said it just seemed like this week it was ... with the putts that I did make yesterday, he said it seems like if I had noticed anything. I had noticed that, which was interesting."

Spieth went from his wire-to-wire victory at Augusta National to Hilton Head, and then a week off before arriving at Harding Park. He made seven birdies in his opening match Wednesday, though most of them were from the 8-foot range.

On the second day, Spieth had to wait to tee off because of three matches that went extra holes.

"I spent the entire time on the putting green," Spieth said. "Maybe I got a little more work done in adjusting. And that showed."

Did it ever.

He missed a birdie putt to lose the first hole. He missed a par putt to lose the third hole. But from the sixth hole on, the Masters champion couldn't miss. Spieth one-putted his last 10 holes for a 4-and-3 victory over Matt Every.


MASTERS REVISTED: Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen won both their matches and next face each other Friday to determine who advances.

At stake is a spot in the round of 16.

Given their history, that's not much.

"You're not playing for a green jacket," Oosthuizen said after his 2-up victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez.

PHOTO: Bubba Watson watches his shot from the tee on the third hole at the Match Play Championship golf tournament Thursday, April 30, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Bubba Watson watches his shot from the tee on the third hole at the Match Play Championship golf tournament Thursday, April 30, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

They are linked by a playoff at the Masters in 2012, when Oosthuizen became the first player to make an albatross on the par-5 second hole. Watson rallied with four straight birdies on the back nine and then went to a playoff, which Watson won on No. 10 with that fabled shot out of the trees.

"I just hope he doesn't leave it somewhere where he needs to use that hook around the tree," Oosthuizen said. "Because then I'm in trouble. Yeah, I mean I'll probably be thinking about that. But once I'm on the golf course, I know I need to focus and play well because he's going to come with everything he's got."


MAN ABOUT TOWN: It's been only three weeks since Jordan Spieth won the Masters, but he has already noticed one change.

Even in San Francisco, more people seem to know him. He was at dinner earlier this week with agent Jay Danzi when a couple of girls approached the table.

"Random, maybe non-golf fans," Spieth said. "They came up and said that it's their boyfriend's birthday and would you come over and wish a happy birthday. I was just happy she didn't ask me to sing."


AUSTIN BOUND: The Match Play Championship officially has its sixth golf course since it began in 1999. The membership at Austin Country Club signed off on a deal that brings the tournament to the Pete Dye signed for four years starting in 2016.

The club was founded in 1899, making it one of the oldest in Texas. This is the third golf course for Austin Country Club. Dye built in 1984. It offers views of Lake Austin and features undulating terrain, deep pot bunkers and extensive use of limestone slabs.

And it will be a home game of sorts for Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who attended Texas for three semesters and played on the Longhorns' national championship team.

"I know that my peers — the Americans and the international players — are going to love the Austin feel, the crowds and Austin Country Club itself," Spieth said.

The course really doesn't matter considering the one-on-one format of match play, though it helps to be on a course the players like. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott stopped going to Dove Mountain toward the end of that eight-year run north of Tucson, Arizona.

Next year, the Match Play will be held the week after the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and a week before the Shell Houston Open.

Previous sites for Match Play were La Costa (1999-2000, 2002-2006), Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne (2002), The Gallery at Dove Mountain (2007-08), The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain (2009-14) and TPC Harding Park (2015).

That will give five PGA Tour events in Texas next year, tied for the most among states with California and Florida.


DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth already has made 14 birdies in 31 holes. He faces Lee Westwood, who has made 11 birdies and an eagle in 36 holes. ... Hunter Mahan has had the shortest week so far at Harding Park. He has played only 27 holes in victories over Ben Martin (5 and 3) and Stephen Gallacher (7 and 6). ... Paul Casey has played 40 holes and has two victories. Jimmy Walker has played 38 holes and has two losses.

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