After a lackluster start that included a water ball and a bogey on the “gettable” par-5 seventh, Spieth picked up birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 and added three in a row on Nos. 14 through 16 to reach 2 under for his round and 1 over for the championship.
Never mind that Spieth gave two shots back on the final hole, driving right into a fairway bunker and hitting his second shot into the hazard to the front-left of the green.
Still, with the prospect of a career Grand Slam at age 24 no longer plausible, Spieth left the course expressing optimism and looking ahead to his next opportunity.
“Obviously, any week you don't have a chance to win, you've fallen short of where you would like to be,” Spieth said. “Disappointing would have been going home after two days. I think I saw some highlights today. Like (caddie) Michael (Greller) was saying, we could break the season into quarters.
“This is the start of the fourth quarter. It was (like) U.S. Open Sunday—I was out of it, but I gathered a little something off that Sunday round that led to two wins in two tournaments after that, including a major. Just one round like that can do that. That's what I'm looking to do here.”
Spieth reemphasized that becoming the youngest winner of the career Grand Slam was never a particular goal of his.
“That's what I was trying to say before the week started,” said the reigning British Open champion. “I didn't have it written in a diary from when I was young that I need to win a career Grand Slam as the youngest ever.
“That wasn't the goal. The goal was to try and win them all. The goal was to try and get on the PGA Tour and then from there see what happens. And, yeah, I have a lot of opportunities.”
There was a time, of course, when Arnold Palmer also felt he had plenty of time to win a PGA.