Spieth targets a 'patient' John Deere title defense

Tue Jul 8, 2014 7:50pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Twelve months ago, Jordan Spieth become at 19 the youngest player to win on the PGA Tour since 1931 with a thrilling playoff victory at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

The American world number 10, who has since embellished his credentials as one of the most exciting prospects in the game, is back at the TPC Deere Run this week where he aims to defend his title with the same strategy that worked so well last year.

"Stay patient out there," Spieth told reporters ahead of Thursday's opening round. "I know that this week is one you typically have to make more birdies than a U.S. Open.

"Normally it takes in the teens to even 20 under (par) to win (here), and that's always tough going in knowing that and trying to stay patient, even though you know it needs a lot of birdies.

"I remember last year I was just trying to press off the bat, and I shot one over on my front nine of the tournament. I teed off on the back nine and I was two over in my first like seven holes."

Spieth trailed by six shots heading into the final round last year and spectacularly holed out from a bunker on the 72nd hole to complete a closing 65 before going on to beat fellow American Zach Johnson and Canadian David Hearn in a playoff.

"This year I hope to get off to a little better start than that, just knowing that the birdies will come out here if you're patient and you hit the fairways," laughed Spieth, referring to his opening nine holes at the TPC Deere Run last year.

"The golf course is so pure that putts will go in and you'll have some opportunities with wedges."


Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 16th  hole during the first round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club - Blue Course.Jun 26, 2014; Bethesda, MD, USA;Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports