McIlroy delights in Spieth resurgence

09 February 2021 20:29:42 GMTPlus10

Rory McIlroy said he is "excited" to see former world number one Jordan Spieth showing signs of a return to form.

The Northern Irishman finished in a share of 13th at the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday, while Spieth ended up in a tie for fourth behind winner Brooks Koepka. But a sensational third round of 61 had the golf world buzzing that Spieth might soon be ready to return to the top after a spell in the wilderness.

The 27-year-old has registered 11 PGA Tour wins and three Major successes - the 2015 Masters, 2015 US Open and 2017 Open Championship - yet all those victories came in a golden spell from 2013 to 2017 and he has drawn a blank since.

Spieth managed three top-ten finishes from 17 events played in the 2019-20 Tour season with his last top-three finish coming in May 2019 at the Bethpage Black PGA Championship.

He had missed the cut in four of his 2020-21 Tour events with a best of 38th at the CJ Cup in October before his spectacular revival at the TPC Scottsdale course.

His driving remains an issue but his iron play was back among the best on show in Arizona. His sublime 61 saw him fire ten birdies after opening with two rounds of 67 but a final-round 72 saw him surrender the lead.

McIlroy said it had been good to see the Texan back in the mix.

"I think from a viewership point of view, it definitely gets everyone excited," McIlroy said. "The way he plays... I mean, I watched the back nine on Saturday. Absolutely insane, what he was doing. It's typical Jordan.

"Everyone is excited to see him up there again. He works so hard and he just hasn't really got anything out of the last 18 months really. So it's good to see him back in the mix."

Spieth is a 21.00 chance for the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro Am, which starts on Thursday and 12.00 for the Masters in April.

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