PEBBLE BEACH, CA.: Jordan Spieth recovered from a surprise encounter with a rake to stay on the edge of contention, six strokes behind clubhouse leader Justin Rose after his second round at the U.S. Open on Friday.
The 2015 U.S. Open champion was caught unaware by a rake he could not see lurking in the long fescue grass just above the lip of a fairway bunker at the par-four second, his 11th hole at Pebble Beach.
Using a six-iron, his shot barely cleared the bunker face, only to strike the rake, which stopped the ball dead in the punishing rough.
"Oh, it hit the rake," the always voluble Spieth said, clearly surprised, before adding: "Oh, there's a rake there."
To which his caddie Michael Greller replied: "Yeah, there's a rake there."
Spieth proceeded to chop his third shot out of the rough, before making a superb up-and-down from 160 yards to salvage a bogey from what could have been a considerable wreck.
"Couple of good breaks there, huh," added Spieth, who shot a two-under-par 69 that included seven birdies and five bogeys.
Spieth confirmed after the round that he had been unaware of the rake but also said that his bunker shot had not been very good.
"I was trying to clear it higher than that anyways but you don't really see that everyday," the Texan said.
"I don't know where the ball would have ended up had it not hit the rake. I don't know how much speed it had on it.
"Tough break where it ended up after it hit the rake... It was really actually a great bogey. Kept momentum alive and I was able to make a birdie a couple of holes later."
Spieth's never-ending chatter on the course, clearly audible more often than not, raised eyebrows on Thursday when many television viewers were critical of the way he seemed to be blaming caddie Greller for a couple of miscues at the par-four eighth.
Spieth's tee shot went over a cliff and, after a penalty drop, his third shot sailed over the green into deep rough.
"Two perfect shots, Michael," he said sarcastically to Greller. "You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other."
Spieth salvaged a bogey at the hole and later acknowledged the verbal volley at Greller was not his finest moment, admitting to reporters that he might have "looked like the bad guy there".
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon)