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Spieth's rally is great for confidence, match play hopes

AUSTIN, Texas – Jordan Spieth scored a draw at Thursday's Dell Technologies Match Play.

The most unpredictable tournament in golf began on Wednesday with just a few surprises, as only four of the top 16 seeds in group play failed to win the opening match at the Austin Country Club.

As usual there were quick shifts in the momentum and some big rallies at the end.

One of them belonged to Spieth and it was urgently needed. Spieth, the number 4 in this event last year, is now ranked 28th. In his six tournaments this year, he is no better than a draw for 35th place. He was alarming as the Masters approached.

And he was 3 after only six holes on Billy Horschel.

Spieth managed to play the game with five holes when it seemed like a bird's bunker collapsed on the bank of the Colorado River, where he left a footprint. He lost this hole. Then he took the chance to tie the match to another hole loss when he made three putts out of three on the 15th.

Horschel helped by giving a 3-foot putt on the 16th that could have kept him playing two with two. Spieth took it from there. He made a 6-foot birdie for Horschel and sent him to the 18th, and he pulled a wedge on 2 feet for Birdie to win the 18th.

It was only half a point worth of a match in which he was never led, and it is only one of three games in the group match.

Spieth felt more at home.

"For Birdie, the last two holes are pretty big for me right now, because I want to gain confidence under pressure and kind of test some of the stuff I've worked on," said Spieth. "It feels like you're struggling to win a golf tournament on a Saturday or Sunday towards the end of those games, so it was really cool to make a couple of clutch strikes and make a draw there

Spieth said it was the best he has put pressure on for quite some time before he caught himself because he has not been under pressure for over six months.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. [19659013]
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