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Party like it's 2017 — Jordan Spieth is a winner again, takes Valero Texas Open


SAN ANTONIO — There was a time when Jordan Spieth going to bed with a third-round lead meant Jordan Spieth was just a few hours from hoisting a trophy over his head.

In fact, from the 2015 Vivint Houston Open to the 2017 Northern Trust the noted Longhorn held the 54-hole lead on a dozen occasions, winning nine times. He left the other three as runner-up.

But then the 11-time PGA Tour champ fell into a slump nobody could foresee, especially for someone so young and seemingly at the start of a long stretch of dominance. A 2017 season that saw him win thrice, including the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, seemed long gone from his rearview mirror as the calendar flipped to 2021.

And even when Spieth returned to form in recent weeks, holding the 54-hole lead three times since February, he still lacked a piece that was once his calling card — closing the deal.

On Sunday at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course, things sure felt a lot like 2017 again.

Spieth withstood a charge from veteran Charley Hoffman but kept his cool and made big shots down the stretch, capturing his first title in 1,351 days, this one in his home state.

For the 44-year-old Hoffman, the chase was an impressive one as he matched Spieth’s 33 on the front and then posted birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to keep the pressure on. He took his biggest punch at No. 16, burying a 20-foot putt from the fringe to pull within one.

But the final stretch at the Greg Norman-designed course was Spieth’s strength throughout the week. He entered Sunday at 10 under on holes 12 through 18 and didn’t falter.

Hoffman had an 18-foot putt on No. 17 that would have temporarily pushed him into a tie, but he missed. Spieth followed by burying his own birdie putt — his 11th one-putt of the day — to take a two-stroke lead to the final hole.

Matt Wallace, who held the lead with Spieth heading into Sunday, never threatened in third place. Lucas Glover used a big day to pull near the top, shooting a 66 to finish 12 under, all alone in fourth.

Gary Woodland, Brandt Snedeker, Chris Kirk and Anirban Lahiri finished tied for fifth at 9 under.

The victory put Spieth in an interesting position for the upcoming Masters as his three other major victories have all followed similar patterns:

• Prior to winning the 2015 Masters, Spieth finished T-2 at the Shell Houston Open and second at the Valero.

• Prior to winning the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, he finished T-3 at the Memorial.

• Prior to winning the 2017 Open Championship, Spieth won the Travelers.

Spieth will now try to become just the third player since 1960 to win at Augusta after winning the week before the Masters. Sandy Lyle did so in 1988 after winning the Greensboro and Phil Mickelson turned the trick after capturing the BellSouth Classic.

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