Spieth exorcises demons on 12th hole, fires 66

Jordan Spieth hits a tee shot on the 12th hole in the second round of the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club.

Jordan Spieth hits a tee shot on the 12th hole in the second round of the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club.

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Sometimes its just one putt or one hole that makes the difference. For Jordan Spieth, that was the 12th hole on Friday at the Northern Trust Open.

A par-4, 479-yard hole on the scorecard, Spieth has bad memories of the hole when he played in the NCAAs in 2012 for the Texas Longhorns.

On Friday, after what Spieth said was not a great chip, he drained a two-footer that kept his 1-under start intact – leading to an eventual 5-under 66, good enough for T-11 after the morning wave.

“That hole has just killed me even going back to the national championship and when I played here as an amateur,” Spieth said of the 12th. “I just don't have good vibes on it. I think seeing a putt go in helped for tomorrow there, too.”

Seeing the putt drop on the 12th was a confidence builder for the next one – and there were plenty of next ones as Spieth made five birdies on the front nine (he started on No. 10) and moved from outside the cut line to comfortably inside it at 4 under for the tournament, currently five shots back of leader Sang-Moon Bae.

Now Spieth puts himself in position with some of the same players that he faced last week at Pebble Beach – Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker.

Spieth led after two rounds at Pebble Beach and then posted his worst round of the season, a 6-over 78, but bounced back nicely with a final-round 67 to finish T-4.

“I wanted to get back to 2 or 3 under for the tournament and I got to 4 with a good bounce with a wedge on the last hole,” Spieth said. “So right back in contention.”

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